This feverish and provocative original illustration by Mahlon Blaine appears to date to the late 1930s, when the artist was mining the myth of Aphrodite for Nova Venus, a series of artworks illustrating a poem written by Blaine that interrogates the relationship between love, lust, and modernism. Characteristically dark, and replete with complicated and even bizarre symbolism, this gouache and ink painting explores fertility, temptation and eros.
Mahlon Blaine is a vastly underrated and valued artist and illustrator and is viewed as an enigma today.
Some of Blaine’s published work includes illustrations in The New Yorker:
Cup of Gold by John Steinbeck ~ McBride: 1929
Hashish and Incense by Paul Verlaine ~ The Paul Verlaine Society: 1929.
The Temptation of Saint Antony by Gustave Flaubert ~ 1930 ~ New York: Williams Belasco & Myers, 1930
Candide or Optimism by Voltaire ~ Concord Books, New York, 1930.
Kama Sutra – Medical Press of New York 1936
Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor by Laurence Housman ~ Illustrated Editions Co.: 1936 ~ Eight double pages of art, frontispiece, chapter headings.(also World ed.)
The Restless Jungle by Akeley – National Travel Club 1936 d/w
The Maniac. A Realist Study of Madness from the Maniac’s Point of View ~ under the pseudonym G. Christopher Hudson ~ Books For The Few 1941
Eastern Love Stories ~ Shakespeare House: 1951 ~ One plate
Dunninger’s Magic Tricks ~ Commissioned by patron Joseph Dunninger ~ 1951
American Aphrodite Magazine ~ 1953 & 1954 ~ Nos. 9, 10, 13, 15, 16
Edgar Rice Burroughs Canaveral Press ~ 1962 ~ Seven titles, each with a dust jacket and seven interior illustrations by Mahlon Blaine ~ His last commissioned work.
There has as of yet been no exhaustive bibliography of Blaine’s privately published erotica works but some representative titles are as follows:
Tearful Passage ~ Pals of Pain ~ Mr. Bottomley Goes to Town ~ Whipping Pirouettes ~ The Circus Lasher ~ The Pain Clinic
~Education of a French Model ~The Memoirs of Josephine Mutzenbacher and more.