The Art of Robert E McGinnis
This glamorous collection reveals there’s much more to the celebrated cinematic artist than just softcore sexism
One of the greatest interpreters of the stylish female form of the 20th century, the work of Robert E McGinnis will be familiar to anyone who hasn’t avoided ever seeing Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or early James Bond films (or rather, the publicity artwork for the likes of Diamonds are Forever and Thunderball).
The chic and glamorously chauvinistic world of Bond is in fact almost a millstone around the artist’s neck, the famous association perhaps giving critics easier leverage for dismissing Robert as a purveyor of softcore sexism. This new collection shows otherwise, with great style.
Although light on text – a fresh interview with the near-nonagenarian being the highlight – the 175 pages of this collection depict a career with far greater diversity and depth than Robert’s most famous images suggest. Yes, the content may be roughly 70 per cent fixated on the female form – lounging on couches, playing in hay, smoking on fur rugs – but it’s fascinating to contrast these portraits with his work on Westerns, his haunting American landscapes, and magazine designs covering conquistadors and F1 racing. Here’s an artist who deserves better than to be pigeonholed.
Robert E McGinnis’s poster art for 1967’s You Only Live Twice. From Thunderball (1965), he was the principle Bond poster artist for 10 years.