A Way of Seeing, a Way of Giving


Emil Antonucci, the gifted artist and graphic designer who created Commonweal’s distinctive new format in 1965 (he dropped The from the logo and invented the magazine’s colophon), and who remained involved in its design and production until 1998, died in Brooklyn on Memorial Day weekend, following a stroke. He was seventy-six.

A graduate of Cooper Union in New York City, Emil, as he was affectionately known by colleagues, clients, and his students at Parsons School of Design (where he taught for more than forty years), was the recipient of both Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. As a high school student, he was introduced to the work of British Catholic artist and pacifist Eric Gill. While at Cooper Union, Emil began contributing drawings to the Catholic Worker, and Dorothy Day asked the young student to address the group on the role of the artist. Soon Emil was contributing cover art and article illustrations to the brilliant, meteoric journal, Jubilee, edited by Thomas Merton’s writer friends Ed Rice and Robert Lax. He also created a larger-than-life mural of the Magi for the magazine’s offices, the basis for a later Jubilee cover.

Emil became Lax’s life-long collaborator (the latter died in 2000), creating books and pamphlets that showcased Lax’s minimalist poetry. “Lax, with his usual grave modesty,” Emil recounted in Commonweal in 1996, “let me see his poetry. I had just spent my meager savings...

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About the Author

Patrick Jordan is a former managing editor of Commonweal.