[dropcap letter=”P”]ainter, printmaker, illustrator, master enamelist, and Maine arts-scene stalwart Stell Shevis died this past July at the age of 101. With her husband, William Shevis, who died in 2010, Stell moved from New York City to the midcoast in 1945, among the first in a generation of urban-expat artists who helped shape midcentury Maine. “Stell and Shevis,” as they were known to friends and patrons, helped found both the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
A black-and-white print by Stell and Shevis adorned this magazine’s first cover in August 1954, and the pair collaborated on dozens more Down East covers over the ensuing decades. Their illustrations were colorful, mod, and playful without being cartoonish — and they remain some of the most beloved covers in the mag’s 62-year history.
“The style of those prints,” says Down East editor-in-chief Kathleen Fleury, “became a part the magazine’s DNA, just as seven decades of Stell Shevis’ work have become, indelibly, a part of this state’s artistic fabric.”
Above, a few of our favorite Stell and Shevis covers from the 1950s and 1960s.