Original Illustration from Good as Gold by Steven Stroud
This is a mixed media, watercolor and pen & ink on artist’s paper illustration by Steven Stroud. A sketchily composed illustration, it shows a chaotic group gathered at a table. Some of the members of the meeting appear exasperated while others behave oddly such as removing their shoes on the table or pulling down their pants.
This illustration appears as a full page bookplate on page 223 of Good as Gold by Joseph Heller. It depicts a moment from the chapter “You Will Hurt Your Foot”.
The illustration on artist’s paper is 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.
The Franklin Library’s Original Illustration Commissions
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.
Good as Gold
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”.
About the Artist: Steven Stroud
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.