January 27, 2013
An Buama Deiridh, Deasún Breatnach, FNT (1962). Cover design: Máirtín DeFuireastail
Seal Thall, Seal Abhus, Deasún Breatnach, Oifig An tSoltáthair (1973). Cover design: Máirtín DeFuireastail
An tÁr sa Mhainistir, S.E. Ó Cearbhaill, Oifig An tSoltáthair (1972). Cover design: Máirtín DeFuireastail
An tÁr sa Mhainistir (back cover), S.E. Ó Cearbhaill, Oifig An tSoltáthair (1972). Cover design: Máirtín DeFuireastail
Máirtín DeFuireastail’s cover design for An Buama Deiridh (The Last Bomb) is a wonderful piece of comic book pop art. On first look it may appear to be yet another tired Lichtenstein appropriation yet, amazingly, DeFuireastail created this in 1962, a full year before Lichtenstein painted Whaam! The cover crackles with Cold War nuclear paranoia – an imaginary metropolis under threat from some diabolical danger.
The comic book influence runs through the other examples of Máirtín DeFuireastail’s art. There is a lovely crispness to his line work. The streetscape in an orange band on the back cover of An tÁr sa Mhainistir is particularly pleasing. It reminds me of the illustrations on the cover of Saoirse Gan Só which I wrote about previously. I have a strong feeling that it is also the work of DeFuireastail but it is no credit on the book.
DeFuireastail produced illustrations and cover designs for books from at least 1956 until sometime in the mid-seventies, other than that I have no biographical details for this talented designer.
I will be speaking about typography in Irish book covers at the next Typography Ireland seminar this Friday 1st of February at 2.30pm. Paul Freeney will also be speaking about the work of his father, sign painter, Kevin Freeney. The seminar takes place in the GRADCAM seminar room, John’s Lane West, Dublin 8. The building is a former primary school and the GRADCAM seminar room is on the top floor.