Hell Cat

Artist:Harry Barton
Date:1959
Medium:Gouache on Illustration Board
Dimensions:Sight Size 13" x 21" Framed 21" X 29"
Condition:Excellent
Original Use:Cover for Hell Cat, Beacon Books Paperback
Price:$3,500.00 on sale $2,625.00
Detail

Detail

The artist's signature lower right

The artist's signature lower right

The illustration as it appeared as the cover for Hell Cat - Beacon Books (included in sale)

The illustration as it appeared as the cover for Hell Cat - Beacon Books (included in sale)

A signed gouache on illustration board painting by Harry Barton, created as the cover for Dorine Clark's 1959 novel Hell Cat. This original artwork is a prime example of the boundary pushing, subversive imagery that helped draw readers to the taboo and lurid stories put out by pulp paperback publishers. These titles often pushed the boundaries of what was considered decent, offering stories of gay and lesbian life, drug culture, and--as in this case--fetish culture. In an attempt to keep censors at bay, publishers often couched their offerings as object lessons or morality tales, but more often than not, these books were intended to intrigue.  Though Beacon Books described Hell Cat as "a powerful indictment of sex without love" the subversive cover art by Harry Barton reassured readers that what they would really get is a dark look at "The Velvet Lash" S&M scene, filled with semi-explicit descriptions of "night life as it really is - stripped of glamor, sodden with sex, feeding on naked desire" as the cover slug promised.
This is by all accounts a classic example of 1950s paperback art, nicely matted and framed under glass and ready to hang. Two copies of the paperback are included with sale.

From the collection of Bob and Diane Yaspan.

Framed and silk matted under glass

Framed and silk matted under glass

Frame corner profile

Frame corner profile

 

Detail

Detail

View of complete illustration board before framing with margins

View of complete illustration board before framing with margins

Verso view before framing with publishers notations

Verso view before framing with publishers notations



 

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