Janet Halverson designed covers and jackets for books written by some of the most important authors of the twentieth century. That and the fact that those covers and jackets are highly regarded by contemporary designers of covers and jacket is, more or less, all that is known about her. There are no books about her. There are no articles. Most recent references to her on the internet are by people wanting to see and know more. When we tracked down people who might’ve known her we were most often told, “I knew Janet—but not well.”
Unfortunately this exhibition won’t provide much interesting information about Janet Halverson’s life. She was born in Orono, Maine, in 1926, grew up in New Haven, worked in New York, and presently lives in suburban New Jersey—aged 97. But at least there is her work. And from that work we can discern that she was a good and inventive and smart designer. This show and the forthcoming catalogue won’t provide the definitive story of her life and work. It is, alas, only an introduction.