The name "Patrick Nagel" will likely not strike any bells in your mind; it might not elicit anything in particular, off-hand. More likely, however, should you be a member of Generation X or beyond, you've seen your fair share of this artist's work. It has been said that Nagel was the illustrator extraordinare of the 1980s

Patrick Nagel (1945-1984) is known primarily for his high-contrast, two-dimensional, stylized line art. More specifically, Nagel was known for his artistry in drawing the female form, combining sharp angles and soft curves, showcasing a style that, to this day, has been heavily imitated, but never replicated.

This said, one of Nagel's biggest fans has always been Hugh Hefner, and indeed, plenty of Nagel's pieces have appeared in Playboy. However, Nagel's art reached far across the print medium, appearing in other publications, from Rolling Stone to Architectural Digest. Beyond this, however, Nagel's most recognised piece is probably that which resides on the cover of the #1 Duran Duran hit album, 1982's Rio.

Despite these fine credentials, one nonetheless still tends to see Nagel's work appear in more mundane environments; you'll still sometimes see Nagel's women appear anywhere that might be tangentially associated with fashion -- perhaps this is why the last time you've probably seen one of his images, you were getting a haircut, with his's creations plastered on the wall, or in a book.

Indeed, seeing Nagel, or derivatives thereof, in places like these sometimes tends to "cheapen" his work -- but at the same time, all these instances are testaments to the platonic essence of beauty reflected in Nagel's art. This is why there is little question in this author's mind that the controversial women so often seen in Robert Palmer videos of the same timeframe were doubtlessly influenced by his sense of style.

In 1984, Nagel died of a heart attack early at the age of 36, following a publicity shot for charity, at an aerobics centre, with basketball great Wilt Chamberlain. His artwork still lives on, however, and probably will for as long as people are admiring the human form.

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