Nicholas Zann was a true New Yorker, born 1943 and died 2020 in New York City. His career spanned six decades and covered a multifaceted terrain, including painting, illustration and music. In 1956, a painting submitted to and exhibited at Lever House led to a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute; Zann went from there in 1958 to the High School of Industrial Arts, which became known as High School of Art and Design in 1961, the year he graduated.

From 1957-1965, Zann fronted a rock'n'roll band with which he recorded and toured internationally, but in 1965, inspired by a commission for ABC's Les Crane Show (1964), he turned to pursuing fine art full time. While starting a professional career in illustration, he continued his fine art studies at the School of Visual Arts, guided by Jack Potter and Burne Hogarth.

 

Recognized as one of the most innovative and prolific cartoonists and illustrators of his generation with his work having been frequently published in magazines such as Newsweek, daily newspapers such as The New York Times, comics and mystery covers alike, Zann's magazine and book illustrations were featured on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (1975 and 1978); received a prestigious Illustrator's Society Award (1987); and in 1990, MTV aired a special profile edition on Karl Lagerfeld, Andy Warhol and Nicholas Zann.

Since the early 1990s, Zann has been profiled in Who's Who and, in 1995, Zann's book cover of "The Saint" showcased by Robert Evans was discussed on the Charlie Rose Show. In 2003, "The Answer Deck," a card game created and illustrated by Zann, was published by Running Press, selling over 100,000 copies, and can still be found today via the internet.

 

In addition to his commercial work, Zann painted figurative compositions starting in the 1980s. In 1995, Constance Emmerich commissioned Zann to paint a 7' x 7 ½' panel to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison's chamber music piece. The painting premiered on the stage of Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and was subsequently shown in Europe. Zann's paintings can be found in private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA (Collection of Thomas F. Parker), and the permanent collection of Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music in Lenfest Hall. He exhibited in New York City at both Gallery Sakiko (one man show, as well as group show) and at the Jason McCoy Gallery (group show). Zann's artwork "Love Comic," created in 1970, was first exhibited in London's Victoria and Albert Museum in 1974, and remains part of its permanent collection; "Love Comic" was also featured in 2016 at the Textile Museum, the Netherlands, as part of their 'Popart Fabrics & Fashion' exhibit. His illustrations continue to be auctioned bi-yearly by Swann Auction Galleries in New York City.





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