DescriptionHUGH JOSEPH WARD (American, 1909-1945)
The Evil Flame, Spicy Mystery Stories pulp cover, August 1936
Oil on canvas
28.5 x 19.5 in.
Signed lower right
This is not only the most important Ward pulp cover we've ever offered -- it's one of the absolute best pulp covers that exists, by any artist. Iconic is the adjective that best sums up the entire over-the-top approach that pulps are now celebrated for. As pulp art historian Robert Lesser so vividly recounted about the Ward approach in his book, Pulp Art, Gramercy Books, 1997, "One day in April 1942 Mayor la Guardia spied an unusual Spicy mystery on the newsstand and exploded in instant rage. He ruled on the spot: 'No more Spicy pulps in this city.' H. J. Ward was the cover artist and it was one of his most daring: sexual tension, violence in action, a beautiful woman, all painted with aggressive brushwork to create a cover that couldn't fail to catch the eye."
From the Estate of John McLaughlin.
Original canvas is unlined. Slight stretcher creases visible along left and right edges with no loss to surface; small puncture to canvas on bottom of woman's left leg; frame abrasions to lower right edge. UV examination reveals inpainting along upper left edge of painting and bull's eye; strengthening to figure's eyes, nose, forehead, and hair; moderate points of strengthening along figure's body with heavy attention to figure's hand and forearm. Otherwise this lot is in good condition with normal wear commensurate with age. Framed to an overall size of 35 x 26 in.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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