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    Frank Frazetta - Creepy #17 Cover "Executioner" Painting Original Art (Warren, 1967). Frank Frazetta executed (no pun intended) this canvas in 1967, smack-dab in the middle of his world-renowned Conan cycle, for Jim Warren's Creepy magazine series. Warren immediately recognized Frazetta's imaginative flair for depicting the unimaginable. With full confidence he gave him carte blanche to produce as he wished, when he wished, very much unlike his other commissions - which were virtually dictated to him by art directors employed by the various companies he freelanced for. If any of Frazetta's originals could claim to be fine art, it would be these very canvases - as he was allowed to create from the soul, as his heart desired.

    And create he did! Utilizing the classic triangle/pyramid compositional technique so successfully employed on the Conan the Adventurer paperback cover the year before (Frazetta title: "Barbarian"), he achieved a somber, sinister tour de force no magazine or book cover had ever displayed prior to its debut. An iconic touchstone of the late '60s-early '70s, the provocative, grim, hooded medieval headsman reflects the influences of the times: the "Late Late Show" running of the classic Universal Studio horror movies of the '30s on television and the Hammer Studios' series of English shock cinema in the theatres, co-mingling with the only-too-real rancor of campus unrest and the war in Vietnam. "A journey through the past, darkly?" Perhaps. What is known for certain is when he was finished, Frazetta had produced a masterwork of fantasy-horror, surpassing even Warren's expectations for the Creepy cover. Frazetta scholars have often opined that the painting is a seminal work, one that prefigured the "Death Dealer" painting of the mid-seventies - an assessment easy to agree with! At the time, the powerful imagery so unnerved Frazetta's wife that he consented to sell it to appease her. Although much tamer by today's standards, it does not fail in its mission: to provoke reaction, to stimulate the imagination, to draw you into his world, and quite probably send a shudder down your very spine! After its sale in 1973 by Frazetta, through Russ Cochran's Graphic Gallery's inaugural offering, the original remained locked away in a private collection for close to a quarter-century until our consignor purchased it a decade ago. In 2005, he was contacted by the Museum of American Illustration and generously loaned "Executioner" for display from September 7th to October 1st, 2005, making it the only Frazetta original ever exhibited in a nationally accredited museum. The directors of the museum took this responsibility very seriously, insuring the painting for $300,000 (documentation provided to winning bidder).

    Our consignor had the privilege of showing this work to Frank Frazetta a number of years ago. Frazetta's direct quote: "This was one of the great ones - I never should have let it go," The paintings that Frazetta once sold for a few hundred dollars quickly advanced to the five-figure range, and now the going rate for Frazetta fantasy paintings has reached six figures. With a limited number of these masterpieces in existence and demand unabated, it seems probable that today's going rate will seem cheap in years to come.

    As the first public sale since 1973 of this peak period, world-class, "Executioner" oil painting by the "world-beater" of fantasy art - Frank Frazetta - we encourage you to bid - to bid as if your very head depended on it! In other words, this is "as good as it gets."

    Oil on canvasboard painting, signed lower right, with an overall size of 16" x 20", professionally framed, and in Excellent condition.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2006
    10th-11th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,236

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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    Please give a big thank you to the entire Heritage team. Everyone was a pleasure to work with and Heritage delivered beyond our expectations.
    Cheryl Rubin, Sr. Vice President-Brand Management DC Comics,
    New York, NY
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