The Romantic Art of Pino: A Fine Art and Illustration Legend
Who can say they transformed an entire artistic genre? Pino is one of those rare individuals.
If you’ve been anywhere near a bookstore or a library in the past 30 years, you’re probably already familiar with Pino’s iconic work. The artist revolutionized how we think about book cover illustrations.
But, at the pinnacle of his career, he walked away from his overwhelming success as an illustrator in the publishing industry to pursue his true love—fine art.
In this video from Park West Gallery, Pino’s son, Max Dangelico, celebrates his father’s legacy, both as an illustrator and a fine artist, proudly noting that his unassuming father “ended up being the most popular artist of his time.”
Pino’s Path to International Fame
Born in 1939 in the coastal town of Bari, Italy, Giuseppe Dangelico Daeni—better known as “Pino”—was an accomplished illustrator in his home country, but his career reached new heights when he immigrated with his family to the United States in 1978.
He quickly found work painting and designing book covers for some of the biggest American publishers, including Zebra, Bantam, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Penguin USA, and Dell. His unique style went on to influence and dominate the market for book illustration—particularly the romance genre—for decades.
His distinctive artwork graced the covers of millions of books, and every design was hand-painted by Pino himself.
According to Max, many art lovers call his father the publishing industry’s “last great American illustrator.”
“After Pino, it all went digital,” Dangelico says. “So my father was the last great illustrator that painted by hand, oil on board.”
During the 1990s, the artist shifted his focus from cover illustration to fine art. In the words of his son, “He wanted to paint for himself.”
The resulting paintings, steeped in the artist’s trademark style of Contemporary Realism, are among the finest works of his career.
Pino passed away on May 25, 2010, but he left behind a prolific body of work that reaffirms his position as one of the great figurative artists of the 20th century.
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