Francis Cugat

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Francis Cugat also known as Francisco Coradal-Cougat[1] (May 24, 1893—July 13, 1981)[2] was a portrait, poster and book jacket artist and set designer, whose most famous work was the original 1925 cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.[3]



Cugat was born in Spain in 1893 and was the older brother of bandleader Xavier Cugat.[4] The Cugat family emigrated to Cuba in 1903.[5]

Cougat studied at the academy at Rheims, and then in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He became known as a portrait painter in France, South America and Cuba before coming to the United States.[6]

Cugat created distinctive, stylized theatre cards for several opera personalities in the period 1915-1918 including Lucien Muratore, Rosa Raisa and Giacomo Rimini.[7] These visually dramatic posters were the result of Cugat having been discovered by Cleofonte Campannini in Chicago. Cugat came to the general director of the opera asking for the commission to paint poster portraits of the Chicago Opera Association stars. He continued in this endevor, painting Nellie Melba, as well.[8]

In the early 1920s Cugat continued his artistic career in New York City. Cugat moved to Hollywood in 1925.[9] For many years, Cugat was a designer in Hollywood for Douglas Fairbanks and had a 1942 show in New York, well after his famous work for The Great Gatsby. He was credited for technical work on sixty-eight Hollywood films.[4][10]

On November 28, 1922, in New York City, Cugat was married to the painter Ruth Wadler Cugat (b. New York), the sister of Lucille Lortel, founder of the White Barn Theatre.[11][12] He died in Westport, Connecticut, on July 13, 1981.[13]

Known work


  1. ^ New York Public Library; "Lucille Lortel Papers"
  2. ^ U.S.Social Security Records
  3. ^ Tate, Mary Jo (2007). Critical companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald: a literary reference to his life and work. Infobase Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8160-6433-5. 
  4. ^ a b Article on dust jacket for The Great Gatsby.
  5. ^ Internet Movie Database Biography of Xavier Cugat.
  6. ^ Theatre Magazine, Volume 27 edited by W. J. Thorold, Arthur Hornblow, Perriton Maxwell, Stewart Beach; 1918 p. 278 (a photo of the artist, as well as illustrations of his work, accompany this highly-informative article).
  7. ^ Walker, Patrick, in an illustrated article about Cugat on, December 2012
  8. ^ Theatre Magazine, idem.
  9. ^ Lucille Lortel: The Queen of Off Broadway By Alexis Greene; p. 43.
  10. ^ Walker, Patrick, idem.
  11. ^ American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945 By Marian Wardle, Sarah Burns; p. 191.
  12. ^ Lucille Lortel: The Queen of Off Broadway By Alexis Greene; p.32.
  13. ^ ibid. p. 253.
  14. ^ Walker, Patrick
  15. ^ David Chase Gallery, item number 529, offered in June 2012.
  16. ^ Offered by in June 2012.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Reproduced on in June 2012.

External links