Friday, March 15, 2013

The Caricature Art of Robert Grossman

Illustrator, sculptor, comics artist, animator Robert Grossman has had an astounding career spanning the last 60 years. To say he's the greatest airbrush artist/caricaturist of all time isn't hyperbole, it's an understatement. Picking just a few samples from his incredible body of work is a near impossible task (he's created over 500 magazine covers alone!), but I'm presenting some of my favorites. If anyone deserves to have a career retrospective/anthology it's Bob Grossman. Check out these beautifully rendered, consistently brilliant and memorable illustrations, most chosen from the 60's-80's. As Steven Heller wrote: "his mordant wit is never duplicated".

Bob has continued turning out wonderful  drawings and comic strips regularly for, among others, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and the NY Observer where I was been proud to have alternated with him, Victor Juhasz and Philip Burke as a regular cover artist for 20 years (1994-2014).

Robert Grossman passed away in his sleep in March 2018 at age 78.

my thanks to Stephen Kroninger, John Wendler, Peter Kuper, Steven Heller, Jim Engel & Ed Edo Dennis

Robert Grossman was the editor of The Yale Record, and created this parody cover
of The New Yorker

Grossman cartoon from the Yale Record, reprinted in harvey Kurtzman's HELP!

art by RG for MONOCLE (1963)

comic strip for MONOCLE
First cover for TIME: Curtis LeMay/George Wallace/1968
From EYE magazine/1967
LBJ channels "Punch"

Mick Jagger
Ronald Reagan/Rodant

John Lindsay

Tom Jones

Howard Hughes

Alexis Smith

Mr. Spock

Chrysler chairman Lynn Townsend (Esquire)

Poster art for the "1970 Senators for Peace and New Priorities" Rally at Madison Square Garden held on March 12, 1970.  
various drawings for The Realist...

Tricia Nixon
Sammy Davis, Jr/Richard Nixon

early seventies NBC TV stars

From the Beatles Illustrated Lyrics book
Back in the USSR
Joe Namath

Hugh Hefner

From AUDIENCE magazine, the evolultion of a Playboy Bunny...

 A 1972 Chicago Sun-Times supplement.  The Marx bros are depicted playing "Pinchy-Winchy"-a game they played where you pinched the cheek of the guy next to you as described in the article, (right after mentioning singing "PEASY WEASY")


William Burroughs

Dean Memminger

Milton Berle

George McGovern/Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon/Charles Colson

Nixon & Kennedy

Henry Kissinger
Dick Clark
J. Edgar Hoover
Jimmy Connors
Bobby Riggs

Joe Frazier

Co-author of "Candy" Mason Hoffenberg

Colonel Sanders

Agent Sam Cohn

Jerry Garcia

John Denver

John Entwistle & Ringo Starr

Gerald Ford

Ford and Kissinger

at the NY Democratic convention, 1976 (New York mag)

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford

Jimmy Carter

poster art by Robert Grossman
Children's Book Cover

Joe Paterno
Clark Gable
Marlene Dietrich
Laurel & Hardy

Various Grossman ads...

Earl Scruggs
Julia Child

unused poster art for "The Wanderers"

Steven Spielberg/ET

Jerry Lewis
George Burns

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown

agent Sue Mengers
Cary Grant

John Lee Hooker

Elvis button
Barbra Striesand
Sigmund Freud on the Tonight Show

1978 poster art by RG

poster art by Bob Grossman

cover art for Donald Westlake novel
Ed Koch

Jackie Gleason/Art Carney

Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart

Monica Lewinsky

Robert A. Heinlein
George W. Bush

Barack Obama

Mitt Romney


  1. What a posting. What a remarkable career of killer images. Bob's one of the great ones. His Kissinger as Jiminy Crickett is iconic. Thanks for the effort putting this together, Drew.

  2. Bob's sculptings are gorgeous portraits. Peter Kaplan has a fantastic Reagan.

  3. Wow - what a wonderful look at Grossman's oeuvre Drew! Grew up with (especially his Lampoon covers) & always admired his plasticine likenesses. Seemingly 3D without the glasses...

    Richly comprehensive job you've done here one could ever accuse you of stinginess when it comes to posting on an artist ;-)

  4. Bob was Peter Bergman's roommate at Yale, which is how he ended up doing som uch Firesign Theatre-related artwork over the years. I'm Firesign's archivist, and recently I emailed Bob some snapshots art I collected from his stint at "Los Angeles Times: West" magazine:

    1968-06-02 “Her Son the Vulcan” (Leonard Nimoy)

    1968-08-04 “Florida’s Kirk: Ready for the G.O.P.”

    1968-12-15 “California is a fadist state”

    1969-11-16 “Ol Bob Finch”

    1972-01-23 “You Know I Can’t Hear You When The Jets Are Flying”

    1972-07-23 Alexis Smith

    1972-10-08 “The Last Marx Brothers Movie”

    And of course here's Bob's amazing illustration for the back of the recent, massive Firesign radio show book/DVD-ROM compilation "Duke of Madness Motors":

  5. Wow, this blog is great. What a fantastic tribute. Thanks for doing this blog, D. F. I'm a big fan.

    - Michael

  6. What an exhaustive collection of images. I'm exhausted just looking at them! And to think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Nice job, Robert and Drew!

  7. would anybody be interested in buy an Laurel & Hardy Charcoal sketch dated 4-81 by Robert Grossman? if so please email me at i will send picture

  8. I've always loved Grossman's work. He was an early influence. His comic strip in New York Magazine (wish I could remember the name) was one I loved and found fascinating. And his airbrush skill was incomprehensible to me. Still is, kinda. Thanks for posting these. Not sure how I didn't already know he'd done the Airplane poster. Iconic.

  9. Via the FB page of Mr. Victor Juhasz, I find this fantastic series of caricatures. Couldn't pick a favorite if I had to. Really fun and tasty art all the way. Great to see all of those Rolling Stone covers again. I think I received all of them in the mail as a very long time subscriber and it was a treat to see every one then and now! Thanks for providing these images.

  10. Cool stuff saved a bunch of him his Nudes were awesome =)

  11. Bob (with his younger brother David) also created several great Claymation tv spots for Carrier air conditioners in the early ‘80’s - off to YouTube now, in hope of finding them lurking there...