Large, dramatically lit, and alluring, this gouache on illustration board painting by Howard Purcell was created as cover art in 1953 for the digest novel Wild Body by Manning Clay, which told "the intimate story of a modern Salome--who tried to shed the seventh veil." The scene shows Valerie, a pretty albeit tired burlesque dancer between shows, deep in thought and seemingly full of ambivalence about the man standing over her and recent life choices, this work registers an emotional scope and purpose that is really remarkable. According to the publisher's slug copy Valerie's "beauty was her curse...she danced to the devil's own rhythm." This is truly evocative and powerful--a departure for Purcell, who today is primarily remembered as a comic book illustrator, and the cover artist for Green Lantern #1.
Nicely framed and ready to display, a high grade complete edition is included in the sale.
Previously in the Estate of Charles Martignette.