One of the greatest artistic qualities of the American grand master of fantasy art Frank Frazetta (1928-2010) is the combination of vitality and dignity he gives his figures. (not just his human figures, but his apes and lions and lizards, too.) His battles are always battles between equals. They’re not contests of physical prowess, they’re contests of dynamism and heroism, of sheer vitality. Not all his paintings present women as heroically as they do the men, but in the best of them it’s vitality itself that’s the subject, heroically embodied, whether in the human body, male or female, or in troglodytes, gorillas, crocodiles or panthers.
Frazetta's girls are real - you've seen them before. Their beauty doesn't line up with the modern concepts of beauty. Their style and grace come from a deeper, more primal spot where hourglass figures never run out of time. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty. They seem more genuine, even though they are quite exaggerated.
In 1976, the master himself said, 'A woman can be sensuous and erotic in typical, mundane movements', and I try to capture that precise motion or pose when she is at her most sensuous. I do exaggerate a lot in my work, but I find I have to exaggerate least when I paint women.'
Later version of King Kong produced in 1979 featuring the giant ape largely absorbed in the dark foliage of the jungle.
First painting on the subject used as the cover for the Ace paperback edition of KING KONG from 1976.
Conan The Avenger
'Sacrifice' was used for the cover art for the 1968 edition of 'Conan The Avenger' (Fig.2a), written by Robert E Howard, Björn Nyberg and L Sprague De Camp, published by Lancer Books.
A variation of 'Invaders' was also used as the cover art for the novel 'Time War' by Lin Carter.
Sexy Damsel in Distress
Original version of “Desperation,”(Fig.4) featured on a 1971 National Lampoon (Fig.4b), lampooning Weird Tales “Spicy Stories”: Sexy damsel in distress; human sacrifice; white hunter overcoming dusky hordes, etc.
This is a repaint of “Desperation” used for a National Lampoon cover (Fig.4b). All kinds of hoary pulp tropes of the early 20th Century are on display here.
A blonde male hero in Native American garb with a Roman short sword, a classic shredded physique fighting a giant troll, watched by a laying blond-haired beauty only wearing chained lingerie (Fig.6). This cover Frazetta created in 1974 for Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Moon Men. There are several colorized versions of this great work.
In the early 1990s, Frank Frazetta gifted his original artwork, “Temptation” (Fig.8) to his youngest daughter, Heidi Frazetta. For years it hung on her bedroom wall. In 2015, Heidi exhibited her original art collection, which included “Temptation,” at the Metropolis Comic Art Gallery in New York City.
This is a nude portrait of Frazetta's wife ‘Eleanor Doris Kelley’ (Fig.9) who was his favorite Frazetta Girl and muse.
Cover art for the 1972 edition of the novel 'Pellucidar ', book 2 of the 'Pellucidar' series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, published by Ace Books.
This whimsical watercolor (Fig.12) by Frank Frazetta was painted in 1949. 21-year-old, Frazetta fell madly in love with an Irish ballet dancer who lived on the other side of Brooklyn. She had long blonde hair, bright blue eyes and legs for days. She was the apple of his eye. Frazetta painted this little gem for her, but took it back when she suddenly broke up with him, only a few months into their relationship.
Frazetta did several paintings and sketches of the Masai, including their insanely gutsy and heroic method of hunting the lion (Fig.13).
Contrary to popular belief, Trina Robbins not Frank Frazetta created the iconic space bikini, but Frazetta made it iconic with just one cover (which was actually the second one commissioned by Jim Warren for VAMPIRELLA No. 1 (Fig.16).
Escape on Venus
The un-armoured woman with only a dagger in her hand is clearly the equal, in Frazetta’s world, of that flame-eyed tiger, because she has just as fierce a will to live. The conflict isn’t really conflict, it’s a pairing, a flashing moment of dynamic tension between equals.
At The Earth’s Core
At The Earth’s Core,” was used for the paperback cover of the eponymous title by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story is about David Innes and Abner Perry as they take their "iron mole" five hundred miles below the Earth's crust to a world known as Pellucidar. Thrill as they cross paths with the evil Mahar, the ape-like Sagoths, and all manner of prehistoric creatures . . . as well as the lovely Dian the Beautiful! More than simply an epic adventure, At the Earth's Core is also one of Burroughs' most compelling love stories.
Fraxetta;s painting sold for $1,075,500 at the Heritage Auctions (August 2016). They partially described it as follows, 'As is the case with Frazetta's finest works, the image tells a rich and moving story in one image, and in this case it quite literally is weaving an essential part of the narrative. Frazetta of course excelled in masterfully dynamic compositions that lead the viewer's eye endlessly though a scene, resonating on multiple levels. Here, Dian is menaced by a Mahar in the subterranean caves.
One of the most fantastic and often overlooked aspects of this incredible piece is the amount of detail in the background. When used as a book cover, the upper right portion was covered with text. When used as a print, the resolution was not high enough to fully represent the amazing detail properly. In that upper right area there are two more Mahars and one of their ape-like servants, a Sagoth. Their eyes, haunted and piecing, peer from the depths. Also in that upper portion is a giant snake body, and the left side has a wonderful reptile by the staircase.
The sensual character of Dian dominates this image, however, and with good reason. Frank Frazetta has long been known for his talent at drawing gorgeous, fascinating women. The fluid flip of her hair, and the supple roundness of her form show this as one of his finest female forms ever.
Wolfmother is the debut studio album by Australian rock band Wolfmother, originally released on 31 October 2005 in Australia. The album cover, which is taken from The Sea Witch (Fig.20) by Frank Frazetta, shows a nymph standing against a blue/orange sky, on a rock (Fig.20a).
Master painter Frank Frazetta was working out the shapes and colors for this massive pile of fleshy bodies that graced the cover of the 1970 paperback release of Don Pendleton's novel (as Dan Britain). Across the top, you can see where he roughed in some of the letters for the book cover, so this was created specifically for the book.
Wonderful watercolors and organic shapes in the background make this piece a joy to behold; however, the backside adds even more entertainment, as that is where much of his original graphite line work and shading was done. The painting sailed to a record-setting $454,100 at Heritage Auctions' May 13-14, 2016.
Night Winds is a 1978 fantasy horror collection of short stories by Karl Edward Wagner about his character Kane. The stories are "Undertow", "Two Suns Setting", "The Dark Muse", "Raven's Eyrie", "Lynortis Reprise", and "Sing a Last Song of Valdese". Frazetta's painting really captures the tension of the moment. The horse seems to be turning its head for what is to come.
When we look closely at Frazetta's Ghoul Queen (Fig.23), a number of things stand out. First of all, it seems to consist of two merged images. The queen and the ghouls seem to exist in another universe, as if they are unaware of each other's existence.
Feminists are likely to embrace this depiction of the Ghoul Queen as she's a woman who commands a gang of four grotesque and vigorous males who have the physical power to subdue her but instead bend and crawl at her feet. She is the painting’s largest figure, the tallest, spanning nearly the height of the frame, her figure embodying unchallenged authority.
Interesting is the suggestion of the sculptor Tim Bruckner, who in 2003 made a sculpture (in collaboration with Frazetta) inspired by this painting, that it contains homoerotic undertones portrayed by the (what seems to be) mating ghouls on the left side of the composition.
Born to be Wild
Painting “Devil Rider” (circa 1970) that served as the cover of "Satan's Outlaws - hell bent for kicks, they played tag with death and took all their curves on the high side. A brutal, battering novel of rebels on wheels."
The Tritonian Ring
This painting (Fig.26) was used for the cover of the 1963 fantasy novel The Tritonian Ring by L. Sprague de Camp. This story was first published in the magazine Two Complete Science Adventure Books for Winter, 1951 and is about the Prince Vakar who battles the savage prehistoric gods in his dangerous quest for The Tritonian Ring. The promotional text reads 'Thrilling sword and sorcery for the fans of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings."
The following works are by Frazetta adepts...
Sources: Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta and The Sensuous Frazetta by J. David Spurlock, FrazettaGirls.com, Twitter, Pinterest, Capnscomics.blogspot.com/, Geekynerfherder.blogspot.com, Hoodedutilitarian.com, frontierpartisans.com,
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