The term “catalyst-in-chief” was applied to Frank Zachary by author and scholar Steven Heller. With the news that Zachary, a celebrated art director and longtime Town & Country editor in chief, passed away Friday at the age of 101, it is Heller’s profile that provides some of the most eloquent in-the-moment distillations of this man’s many talents.
The Heller piece was published when Zachary was awarded a 1990 Medal by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). From the essay:
Zachary created working conditions where the unexpected was expected, yet novelty was always eschewed. “The beauty of Frank’s work is that it never followed a single thread,” says Sam Antupit, design director of Harry N. Abrams and former art director of Esquire. “Things that he initiated might have been copied [by other magazines] but they never approached his remarkable execution.” Working for Zachary did not necessarily insure fame and fortune (though many of his “discoveries” did do quite well) but resulted in something even more valuable, the confidence to exercise self-expression, push conventions and be more than just a pair of tired hands.
An equally fitting way to remember Zachary is to turn to the pages of the magazine he stamped. Succeeding Town & Country editor EIC Jay Fielden recalls traveling to Florida to meet with Zachary, alongside tributes from Roger Angell, G. Bruce Boyer and James Villas as well as a look at some of the many graphic journalism highlights. RIP.
[Screen grab via: Town & Country magazine homepage]