This oil on canvasboard painting by Harold (H.W.) McCauley was created for use as the cover for the 1959 Nightstand digest pulp novel Carnival of Lust by J.X. Williams. In this offering a near-nude harem girl flirtatiously eyes a martini drinking genie.
The painting is a dynamic and well-rendered example by this prolific and gifted American illustrator, and a great artifact from the era of fly-by-night, low rent, sleaze publishing houses whose pot-boiler offerings succeeded or failed on the strength of their daring covers. Nightstand books was the brainchild of William Hamling, a Chicago-based publisher active from the 1950s into the 1970s. After work as an editor at Ziff-Davis, Hamling started Greenleaf Publishing, and developed a long-term working relationship with McCauley, who is particularly remembered for his work for the Greenleaf pulp title Imagination. In the late 1950s, Hamling started Rogue magazine, and in 1959, he launched Nightstand Books, an imprint for paperback original sex novels by authors working under assigned house names. Carnival Of Lust was one of their very first titles.
Though unsigned, the painting is guaranteed to be by Harold McCauley. Handsomely framed and silk matted under glass in a fine art deco in aesthetic gallery frame, a copy of the published book is included with sale.