“With coils of wires and a corded rotary telephone, artist Boris Artzybasheff transformed the telephone man into an influential giant stretching across the land in the late 1950s.” – D.W. Pine, Creative Director of TIME.
For the Feb. 23, 1959 cover, the Russian-born artist expertly utilized his gift of bringing machines to life. As TIME wrote in a 4,000-word story on American Telephone and Telegraph, one of the world’s largest companies at the time: “In the U.S., the telephone man has installed 66,600,000 phones, more than half of the 117,800,000 in the world. Each day in the U.S., 245 million telephone conversations hum over the wires, more than 500 calls a year for every person. At any second of the business day, more than 2,000,000 people are talking on U.S. phones. What do they talk about?”
Artzybasheff was part of the golden age of TIME illustrated covers in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, called the
“ABCs” – Artzybasheff, Ernest Hamlin Baker and Boris Chaliapin. The trio produced 900 TIME covers and created a style that gave the publication character, strength and personality. Artzybasheff painted more than 200 covers from 1941 until his death in 1965.