The Art of The New Yorker Magazine Covers

by . June 6th, 2012

The New Yorker is one of the few magazines that featured illustrated cover art since its first issue in 1925. 47 issues are released yearly, and each cover is composed of the magazine’s iconic nameplate, a full bleed illustration, and a narrow vertical strip of color on the left. The design, type, and style of the magazine from 1925 until today depicts The New Yorker’s social and cultural awareness, thanks to one man. The signature typeface is Irvin named after its creator, Rea Irvin, who also served as the magazine’s first art director and also created the Eustace Tilley portrait that graced the cover of the first issue.


Tilley appears yearly on the cover of the issue closest to February 21, the magazine’s anniversary, except in 1994. He is a dandy wearing a morning coat and a top hat. On the initial cover and succeeding anniversary issues, he’s seen peering keenly at a butterfly with his monocle.


Rea Irvin NY 02-21-1925 via

What we like most about the covers of The New Yorker is how its current Art Director, Françoise Mouly, asks the artists she works with to not hold anything back in their sketches. The results are often covers that inspire discussion, sometimes even earning the ire of the easily-offended.


Issues of The New Yorker have become collectibles because aside from chronicling political and cultural developments, they also make great posters and wallpaper art. Here are magazine cover art samples from different illustrators whose work have graced the magazine.


Ray Rohn NY 03-28-1925 via

Max Ree 10-17-1925 via

Toyo San NY 04-02-1927 via

Ilonka Karasz NY 04-16-1927 via

Witold Gordon NY 06-1-1946 via

Abe Birnbaum NY 03-77-1962 via

Arthur Getz NY 12-18-1965 via

Ronald Searle NY 05-06-1972 via

Saul Steinberg NY 03-29-1976 via

Pamela Paparone NY 09-19-1988 via

Warren Miller NY 10-29-1990 via

Art Spiegelman NY 02-15-1993 via

Art Spiegelman NY 05-10-1993 via

Barry Blitt NY 06-17-1996 via

Charles Burns NY 07-29-1996 via

Michael Roberts NY 11-04-1996 via

Anita Kunz NY 03-10-1997 via

Art Spiegelman NY 05-26-1997 via

R. Sikoryak NY 09-15-1997 via

Mankoff NY 12-15-1997 via

Owen Smith NY 12-27-1999 01-03-2000 via

Ana Juan NY 07-31-2000 via

Art Spiegelman NY 12-18-2000 via

Art Spiegelman NY 09-24-2001 via

Barry Blitt NY 07-21-2008 via

Barry Blitt NY 02-01-2010 via

Ana Juan NY 03-29-2010 via

Richard McGuire NY 06-28-2010 via

Ana Juan NY 09-12-2011 via

All images used are from The New Yorker Archives


See more samples of covers of different magazines, books, and comics by browsing through our archives. You can also tell us about the covers that caught your attention through our Facebook or Twitter accounts!


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