Norman Gorbaty

Photograph of Norman Gorbaty

Norman Gorbaty (1954-2020) was a promising young artist whose work was included in a modest show of American printmakers at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. At Amherst he earned the Heisey Award for design in glass from Steuben and was honored with a scholarship to attend the inaugural session of the newly formed Yale Norfolk Summers Arts School. Upon graduating he received a Simpson fellowship from Amherst and a teaching fellowship from Yale where he enrolled to pursue his MFA. While at Yale, Norman found himself in a rich artistic environment influenced by teachers that included Joseph Albers, Alexi Brodovitch, Leo Leonni, Herbert Matter, Bernard Chaet, Gabor Peterdi and Louis Kahn, alongside students that included Richard Anuszkiewicz, Neil Welliver, William Bailey, Arnie Bittleman, and Jay Maisel. During his time at Yale Norman won the Summer Painting Prize from Joseph Albers and had his prints regularly shown in the prestigious Brooklyn Museum Printmaking Annual. His master’s thesis Print Making with a Spoon was published by Reinhold and incorporated in almost its entirety in Gabor Peterdi’s authoritative volume Printmaking Methods Old and New.1954 was also the year that Norman proposed to Joy. They married in 1956 at which time practical considerations and pressures led him from a career in fine art towards one in graphic design. He honed his skills as a graphic artist working at Benton and Bowles Advertising as the Vice President Art Group Supervisor over the product launch of many now familiar brands including the IBM Selectric Typewriter, Pampers, and Crest Toothpaste. During this time he was invited to be the Adjunct Professor of Advanced Graphic Design at Cooper Union where he taught for almost a decade.

Upon leaving Benton and Bowles, Norman opened his own graphic design studio in 1968. His work includes credits for major motion pictures, museum posters, the redesign and covers for Time Magazine and US News & World Report, work for many Fortune 500 companies and illustrations for numerous children’s books. Norman has received recognition and awards for his work and has lectured at a host of schools including Yale, Carnegie-Mellon, Minneapolis School of Art and the Kansas City School of Art.

Throughout his fifty years as a graphic artist Norman continued to produce fine art amassing a large collection of works on paper, painting and sculpture. With the passing of Joy, his “Old Beauty” in 2003 Norman no longer has his audience-of-one with whom to share his art. Having accomplished his goal of providing Joy and their two children with stability and comfort he once again turned his entire focus back to fine art.

Norman Gorbaty passed away comfortably and peacefully September 26, 2020.