DescriptionAMERICAN ARTIST (20th Century)
D for Delinquent, paperback book cover, 1958
Gouache on board
24.75 x 16 in.
This masterpiece is one of the most iconic images of teen delinquents and perhaps the finest single example of the JD genre from the Estate of Charles Martignette. Published as the cover for three separate major publications, this painting has all the requisite elements of the classic 1950s troubled teen: the obligatory back drop of a basement club, the gorgeous sweater clad blonde, and the leering young tough a wolf in hoods clothing.
Its first publication was for the paperback cover of D for Delinquent by Bud Clifton (Ace Books #D-270, 1958), an exceedingly uncommon and much sought-after edition among collectors. "She was strictly for the Boys!", the cover blurb blatantly teases. Rarer still is the painting's next publication, as the British paperback cover for the novel The Big Rumble by Edward De Roo (Digit Books #R360, 1960): "American slang for Gang Fight-A New Shocker of Modern Youth!"
Then, thirty eight years later, when Michael Barson and Steven Heller published their homage to the 1950s teen, Teenage Confidential An Illustrated History of the American Teen (Chronicle Books, 1998), they chose this painting as the cover, firmly solidifying its stature within American pop-culture.
From the back cover of the Ace edition: "The Jail Bait Age-what with petty thievery and wild marijuana parties, there had been enough problems for the faculty at Seacliff High before the girl named Gloria arrived. She was sixteen, she was sexy and she spelled trouble."
From the Estate of Charles Martignette.
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