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MONSTER MEN

Jeffrey Jones

MONSTER MEN - ERB CALENDAR PLATE

Year:

 1998

Media:

 Paint - Oil

Art Type:

 Illustration

Status: 

 Published Art

Artists: 

Jeffrey Jones (All)

Original oil painting of “Monster Men” for the Edgar Rice Burrough’s calendar {October Plate}. (FPG, 1998).

Jeffrey Jones was an American artist who created more than 150 covers for many genres of books. The mid-to-late 1960s was one of the golden eras of paperback illustration, with artists like Frank Frazetta, James Bama, and Robert McGinnis at the peak of their powers. Because of the popularity of his Conan covers, Frazetta’s work in particular was in high demand, so art directors were constantly on the lookout for artists who could paint in a Frazetta-esque style. Since young Jones was highly influenced by Frazetta’s work at the time, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the talented young southerner to create science fiction and fantasy paintings that echoed Frazetta’s style and characters, though usually rendered in Jones’ distinctive, dark-toned palette.

In reality, though, those early painted paperback covers demonstrated that Jones was amazingly versatile, tackling a broader range of subjects in his paintings than Frazetta, painting in genres as diverse as romance, humor, mainstream fiction, horror, even Westerns. It is fair to note, however, that the bulk of Jones’ early magazine and paperback covers consisted mostly of SF, fantasy, and horror subjects. Although occasionally underbid by his younger colleague for jobs, something that nettled Frazetta at times, he eventually acknowledged Jones’s artistic gifts and stylistic growth by referring to Jeffrey Jones as “the greatest living painter.”

While Jones was incredibly prolific early on (averaging a painting a week at his peak), and so painting dozens of book covers every year from 1968 until 1977, he eventually renounced commercial illustration, claiming, “It is my firm opinion that illustration is immoral.” He then ceased taking on jobs that he did only for the money and that he thoroughly despised, and began making his living almost solely from personal work that was published in portfolios and prints. The epitome of this moment was perhaps his work as part of “The Studio,” a massive loft in New York City that he shared with Michael Kaluta, Barry Windsor-Smith and Bernie Wrightson.

The Art:

A tall, naked man rises from the mud of a swamp washed in the thinnest of pastels. The eerie phosphorescent yellow-green of his skin, the mud and slime dripping from his face and limbs declares him a primal force of nature. Three storks calmly fly away behind the man — messengers of a terrible birth slouching forth — this Green Man still rooted in the primal ooze to his knees. He is another root of the tree of life, dimly seen through the mists of time. His face is the skull-mask we normally wear below the surface. This body so muscular and lean is a perfect specimen of heroic strength and grace, but for the twisted leg, which is indeed but a limb of a vegetative world, echoed three times across the bottom of the painting. It provides a startling contrast to the golden Tarzans of the set. It is very Burroughsian though – – a picture of the man underneath the skin of mankind. A graphic zombie predating The Walking Dead by many years.

A moody and dramatic painting. Accomplished in oils on 26 1/4 x 36 3/8 inch stretched canvas. A gorgeous rendition of one of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Monster Men. Signed in the lower left with Jones’ characteristic initial “J”. In fine condition.

Just about any piece (in case of a consignment we will do our best to act as a liaison between the parties involved) on the site is available with reasonable time payments if needed. Possible trade towards any work will be granted consideration as well. Email anytime or try calling between 10AM and 10PM EST daily.

$15,000