Moron Hunted in Fiendish Crime. The Outer Edges. Charles Jackson. Signet 781, 1950. Cover by James Avati. First printing. Jackson (1903–1968) was widely known for his 1944 novel The Lost Weekend. The Outer Edges was released in 1948 and dealt with the gruesome rape and murder of two girls in Westchester County, New York. It received mixed reviews, and sales were poor relative to his previous novels.
A Young Girl Writing a Letter. Etienne Adolphe Piot (French, 1850-1910). Oil on canvas. As a commercial artist, Piot was highly successful. He was able to capitalize on the growing demand for portraits from the upper echelons of Parisian society. The captivating mystery he was able to give his patrons through portraiture ensured the artist was always in demand.
Into Her Book. Rick Beerhorst. Oil on board. Books play a major role in the work of Beerhorst. His work is steeped in the folk art, pop-surrealism style with a hint of Magritte. Is the girl blinded by the book or so immersed in her reading that she is essentially cut off from the temporal world; literally wrapped up in her imagination.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman Capote. Random House,1958. Original dust jacket. First edition. Basis for the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn. The narrator becomes friends with Holly Golightly. Holly is a country girl turned New York café society girl. She has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them. According to Capote, Golightly is not a prostitute but an “American…
Miss Sniff, The Fuzzy Cat. Jane Curry. Illustrations by Florence Sarah Winship. Whitman Publishing Co., Racine, Wisconsin, 1945. A Fuzzy Wuzzy Book (tm). First edition. Miss Sniff, so named by her owner the little girl Polly Pinks as she couldn't pronounce "mischief," is about the adventures of a little black cat. Miss Sniff has a fuzzy flock type finish [as does the big black dog that appears] making her soft to touch.
Egyptian Glide Oriental Tango Characteristic (1914). Alexander Maloof. Published by E.T. Paul Music Co., New York. The brothers William Austin Starmer and Frederick Waite Starmer illustrated innumerable covers dating from the early 1900s to the 1940s. Their work was of consistently high quality and they were turning out nearly a quarter of all large format covers from the late 1890s to around 1919.
Variations: Drawings, water colors, etchings and lithographs by Marcel Vertès. Text by Claude Roger-Marx. Greenwich, CT: New York Graphic Society, (1961). Limited first edition. Original dust jacket. “And if Vertes’s drawings… are certain not to become antiquated or, more exactly, to do so gracefully, it is because, behind this modern ‘new look’ and these superficial changes, the philosopher and the poet have never ceased to stress…what is most universal, most fixed and immutable."
A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams. New York: New Directions, 1947. First edition. Original dust jacket. “I can recall where I was sitting at that first Streetcar viewing... the play and the production had thrown open doors to another theater world… In a word, this play made it possible for the stage to express any and all things and do so beautifully. What Streetcar’s first production did was to plant the flag of beauty on the shores of commercial theater.” -Arthur Miller
McClures’s, May 1921. Cover art Neysa McMein. McMein (1888-1949) did covers for McCall’s, Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, McClure’s, and others. Ad work: memorably for Palmolive; also Cadillac, Lucky Strike, and others. She painted the first Betty Crocker and updated her through the years.