This mixed media watercolor, pen & ink on artist's paper shows a woman relaxing on a couch with a book in hand. Her reading has been interrupted by an individual who leans over close into her body, gesticulating wildly with his hands.
This illustration appears as a full page bookplate on page 159 of Good as Gold by Joseph Heller. It depicts a moment from Chapter 5 - "Education and Truth or Truth in Education".
From its founding in 1973 until its closing in 2000 The Franklin Library produced public domain classic books as well as some limited first editions, releasing them in subscription series such as The First Edition Society. Often released in parallel series including leather bound and a non-leather bound (leatherette), the books were handsomely bound and included illustrations from contemporary illustrators.
American artist and illustrator Steven H. Stroud (b. 1947) was specially commissioned to create a series of interior illustrations for The Franklin Library's 1979 publication of the novel Good as Gold by Joseph Heller.
The novel is well regarded by both fans of Heller and literary critics, being viewed as a return to the gag and verbal play that Heller established in Catch-22 and abandoned in favor of the scathing sarcasm and the darker story in Something Happened. Good as Gold functions as a satire on the U.S. government, in a manner similar to the satirization of the army in Catch-22 and the corporation in Something Happened.
Gore Vidal listed Good as Gold as one of his five favorite post-World War II novels, describing it as Heller "at his deadly best, illuminating a hustler on the make in politics".
The illustration on artist's paper has been adhered to a larger illustration board. There is an onion paper overlay on the paper and a black paper overlay on the illustration board. The original adhesive is visible around the edges of the paper.
This is unsigned by the artist.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Steven Stroud served four years in the U.S. Navy as a photographer and graphic artist before embarking on a 25-year career as an illustrator. His paintings have appeared on the covers of books by Isaac Asimov, Clive Cussler, and Stephen King. He has done special editions of works by Pearl Buck, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Joseph Heller, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Styron.
His work is in the collections of The Department of Defense, Hyatt Hotels, Omega Engineering, UPS and the Florence Griswold Museum. Stroud has been a guest lecturer and critic at all levels of education. He is a past president of the Society of Illustrators and his work is featured in The Illustrator in America by Walter Reed.
Several years ago, Stroud turned his attention full time to his first love, landscape painting. He is currently represented by galleries in Massachusetts and Vermont and has had a number of highly successful group and one-man shows.