PAUL DEGEN 1941-2007
The phone would ring and the voice on the other side would say something like "Stoeff, next week I'm in your neighborhood" just like Mars returns eventually to Earth every 4 years or so, Paul Degen would drop by. He stayed with me in Zürich for a few weeks. We'd hook up a few times in New York. As I'm typing this I realize he was just 6 years younger than my mom. It's hard to fathom getting a phone call out of the blue from a mutual friend and hearing the sad news that Paul Degen passed away after complications of a second surgery in Basel, Switzerland on May 30th.
Paul started his illustrator career as an apprentice in the lithography studio of Wassserman AG in Basel while attending the Basel Collage of Commercial Art. Soon afterwards, he was working in the graphic studio run by Theo Ballmer and the Académie Julien in Paris. After returning to Basel he worked as a free-lance graphic artist for Herbert Leupin, Celestino Piatti, Fritz Bühler and the Eidenbenz Studio. (Swiss all star designers). By 1970 he was drawn to New York, where he produced over 30 covers for the New Yorker, countless illustrations for Harper's, Esquire, Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times
His conceptual mixed media illustrations radiate humor and charm. Paul was always on the go. He traveled the world and became a bon vivant. His next adventure was to travel in a bus through China following an antique car race. I will miss his juggler skills, his grin while playing backgammon, his illustrations, a friend and mentor and above all his adventures spirit.