Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spectrum of Style

To me, Frank Pape's work is a joy to behold, yet it's interesting how his style runs a spectrum even within one book. His illustrations for a 1926 edition of Thaïs by Anatole France — as seen here — are dramatic, decorative, sensual AND humorous. His work is somewhat comparable to Willy Pogany.

I'm probably nuts, but looking at this work, I see a possibly huge inspiration on Mad Magazine's genius artist Will Elder, especially his early stuff. I'll post one of those next time, just to compare.

Anyway, Frank Papé should be an inspiration to many.


Annie said...

Hi Thom,
These illustrations are amazing, exactly as you said, "dramatic, decorative, sensual AND humorous." I love the many styles, and the incredible detail in every illustration. Thank you for the quality scans.

Daniel [] said...

I'd not seen much by Papé before your post. I especially like the endpapers here!

I think that your quite on-the-mark w.r.t. Elder. For example, the naked bearded chap in Thais_03 looks very much as if drawn by Elder.

I've never been much of a fan of the post-Kurtzman Mad Magazine, but the Ballantine reprints of Mad Comics really won me over when I was a kid, and the stories illustrated by Elder were and remain my favorites.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Daniel, those Ballantines were such a treat. Somehow the black and white of the reprints seemed ideal for the art. And yes, always my favorites were Elder's. Inner Sanctum, Shermlock Sholmes, The Raven—so many great ones. I read em over and over and over.

And yes, you picked the one drawing of Papé's that first gave me a connection to Elder. And then also the 'Therefore he conversed with her alone' bottom drawing somehow reminded me of Elder's 'Robinson Crusoe'.

Anonymous said...

I also see some Jim Woodring in some of these.

Li-An said...

I did not know him. Some great illustrations.

Anonymous said...

Papé's illustrations for James Branch Cabell are also excellent, and just as varied in style and tone.

But his work for Thaïs I had not seen; thank you for the scans!

dq405 (Mark)