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Legendary Designer Art Fitzpatrick Dies


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Art Fitzpatrick, known for his stylized advertising drawings, died this week in Carlsbad, Calif. He was 96 years old.

Fitzpatrick and long-time design associate Van Kaufman created print ads for 14 car brands. Kaufman died in 1995.

After a brief stint working on blueprints for Chrysler Engineering, Fitzpatrick was hired as an apprentice designer for Briggs Body Co. and worked on projects for Chrysler, Kaiser, Lincoln, Mercury, Plymouth, Nash and Studebaker. He also is credited with designing the 1940 Packard 180 sedan and served as consulting designer to General Electric.

In the early 1950s, Fitzpatrick teamed up with Kaufman, a former Disney animator who specialized in drawing people and scenery. Their most famous collaboration was in creating the iconic ads for “wide track” Pontiac performance cars of the late 1950s and 1960s. They produced 285 ads for Pontiac over the years, often depicting muscle cars such as the GTO in exotic locations.

Fitzpatrick also illustrated two series of commemorative stamps for the U.S. Postal Service in 2005 and 2008. Both won awards and are among the top-selling commemorative stamps. The first highlighted 1950s-era sporty cars, such as the Corvette, Thunderbird and Kaiser Darrin. The second focused on the chrome and tailfins of the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, Chrysler 300C and Lincoln Premiere.

Earlier this year, the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, Mich., opened a gallery with more than 70 original drawings donated by Fitzpatrick.