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  • Writer's pictureRobbie - The 80s Rewind Show Podcast


Patrick Nagel was an American artist best known for his illustrations and paintings featuring stylized, graphic depictions of women. His work was prevalent in the 1980s and associated with the "new wave" and "pop art" movements.

One of Nagel's most famous works is the cover art for the album "Rio" by the band Duran Duran, released in 1982. The cover features a stylized, geometric image of a woman's face, with bold colours and clean lines. The idea became iconic and is often associated with Nagel and Duran Duran.

Nagel's portraits often feature a limited colour palette of bold, flat colours, usually black, white, and a bright accent colour. His compositions are typically simplified, with clean lines and sharp angles, giving his subjects a graphic, almost cartoon-like quality. The women in his portraits are often depicted with robust, angular features and exaggerated poses, creating a sense of confidence and power.

One of Nagel's most famous works is his "The Playboy Portfolio", which consisted of 12 prints commissioned by Playboy magazine in 1976. These prints featured Nagel's signature style of minimalist portraits of women but with a touch of eroticism and sensuality characteristic of Playboy at the time.

Nagel's work has been compared to the Art Deco movement, which was popular in the 1920s and 30s. Like Art Deco, Nagel's work is characterized by bold, geometric shapes, strong lines, and a focus on simplicity and elegance. However, Nagel's work also has a distinctly contemporary feel, using bright, pop art-style colours and stylized, almost cartoon-like figures.

Nagel's work has influenced art, fashion, and design, and his legacy continues to be felt today. Despite his relatively short career (he died in 1984 at age 38), Nagel's distinctive style and powerful images continue to captivate audiences and inspire new generations of artists.


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