Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, By Kevin Reagan

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The Independent Culture

Inspired by a school art teacher, New Yorker Alex Steinweiss was 22 years old when he "stumbled" into a job designing promotional displays for the Columbia Broadcasting System's new record company.

A year later, and with a head full of the Modernist principle of Gesamtkunstwerk ("synthesis of the arts"), he had a bright idea: why not replace the brown wrapper that records come in with an eye-catching illustration? The rest was, until the advent of the CD, design history, lavishly explored in this testimony to Steinweiss's art, from his first cover in 1940 to a collage from 1961.