“Like some of the old print masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was influenced by the Japanese woodblock print,
with figures silhouetted against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare
originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat, two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more across with fewer elements. His simple and precise
imagery is also reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s- with its sharp linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form ” - Elena G.
Millie, curator of the poster collection at the Library of Congress.
A phenomenally successful commercial artist and painter, Nagel’s work ranged over the spectrum of media illustration, advertising,
print magazine illustration, and even record albums. His cover for Duran Duran’s double-platinum Rio was a sensation. His work retains a strong influence on 21st
century illustration and digital photography.
Nagel’s legacy is iconic in two ways:
The paper-white skin of a ‘Nagel Woman’ with a minimum of shaping strokes and
unusual color perspectives, and the eyes... a mirroring depth of shape framed with a squared outside line.
Patrick Nagel died in 1984 at the age of 38.
— Arthur Meiselman