Cover image for The theatre posters of James McMullan
The theatre posters of James McMullan
McMullan, James, 1934-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Studio, 1998.
Physical Description:
ix, 126 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 36 cm
General Note:
Posters created for Lincoln Center Theater by James McMullan.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2099.U6 M36 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



On buses, billboards, and train platforms, in newspapers and magazines, a poster's swift promise in glorious color or powerful dark tones offers a vivid impression of what awaits a theatergoer, and provides the lasting mental image of a play long after its closing night. No one creates such images with more invention, honesty, and beauty--sometimes disturbingly, but always memorably--than James McMullan.The Theater Posters of James McMullan is an illuminating collection of thirty-six posters from 1976 to the present (from Arcadia and Carousel to Six Degrees of Separation), almost all of them for New York's Lincoln Center Theater, by this artist for whom "the body itself becomes a quickly understood gesture like the movement of a mime or a dance." The ragman hanging off the lamppost with his flaming match in Road, the French-postcard wink of the Anything Goes woman, Eros aiming his arrow in Four Baboons Admiring the Sun . . . full-page reproductions of McMullan's posters accompany his stories of their geneses. Reference photographs, sketches, and alternate versions illustrate his search for the perfect visual metaphor. Most of all, the personalities and dramas of the theater people who surrounded each poster's birth--from Wole Soyinka and John Guare to Liv Ullmann, Patti LuPone, and Mike Nichols--fill this gift book of choice for all theater and art lovers.

Author Notes

Illustrator James McMullan was born in June 1934. He studied at Seattle's Cornish School of Allied Arts and Pratt Institute. McMullan's illustrations have appeared on book jackets and in magazines including Esquire and Sports Illustrated, and he has designed dozens of theatrical posters.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Appropriately both a lavish (full-color) and large (13.5 x 9.75 inches) production befitting the subject matter and reputation of the artist, this publication chronicles the creative development of 36 outstanding posters created over two decades (1976-98). Beginning with his first poster for Comedians, McMullan critically and humorously scrutinizes each work, accompanying them with wonderful sketches showing the early stages of the poster's development. The handsome, full-page reproductions of each poster give a sense of the monumental size and scale of these works. It takes courage and grace to document the intimate and personal process by which one creates art. McMullan writes, "I start every poster with the idea that I will move forward in my art in some way, that I will make the work newer, better, and more revealing of myself that anything I've done before." This simple but powerful statement summarizes the passion and vision that he brought to each of the posters in the book. Both students and professionals will delight in the story behind each work. This book reveals not only the "how" but the "why" in the creative process. All art and theater collections. D. Ichiyama; Purdue University