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    Tarz & Lion

    Frank Frazetta - Original Illustration of Tarzan and the Golden Lion (Canaveral Press, 1962). Frazetta reached his highest creative pinnacle with the now-famous Canaveral Press drawings from 1962-1965. Frazetta was commissioned to illustrate several books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, two of which were published: Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1962) and Tarzan and the Castaways (1965). Other books were planned but never published. Frazetta executed a total of 27 full drawings and 5 small spot illustrations for this Canaveral Press series. Frazetta was showing the world what he could do at a time when he wanted to establish a name for himself, and each drawing is a little miracle of power and refinement, a polished piece of highly sophisticated perfection, making these Canaveral drawings highly prized and eagerly sought by collectors throughout the world. The technique Frazetta employed in all of these drawings is akin to the sumi-e ink wash paintings of the Japanese. These are drawings with a carefully controlled tonal range that varies from solid black to the lightest of water-thinned ink tones, used to control the level of contrast in the designs and to control carefully what the eye sees first and last. The Canaveral plate of Tarzan and the Golden Lion is, in a word, a masterpiece. An aggressively defiant Tarzan confronts a savage lion, who is turning to face his advances. The lion is regal, majestic, and bristling with life; Frazetta never drew a better lion. One can almost feel the lion's heavy breathing as he decides his course of action. Tarzan is stridently heroic; his muscles charged and prepared for action. Further atmosphere is established by the hot jungle breeze that swirls Tarzan's hair and the lion's mane. Frazetta employs a circular design to energize the viewer's eye and to focus the mind's attention. The thick grasses are applied in chiaroscuro fashion to visually unite the two combatants. Frazetta's virtuosity is further displayed with the shortened and suggested spear. A complete spear would have punctured the design and destroyed the wonderfully-contrived symmetries. Notice how the lion's tail and Tarzan's loincloth mirror themselves and serve to tighten and unite the main elements of the design. Circular rhythms are present everywhere. With these "touches" Frazetta is able to take a seemingly static scene and supercharge it with life and vitality. Art of this quality transcends the category of "illustration"; it is Fine Art of the highest creative achievement. Rarely do examples from this period enter the marketplace. History will prove that these Canaveral drawings are an American treasure. In the words of Frazetta himself: "I knew they were priceless when I was drawing them." (Dr. Dave Winiewicz copyright 2002) Framed, with an image area of approximately 10.5" x 8.5" and a 21" x 18.25" presentation overall. From the collection of Russ Cochran.

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2002
    15th-16th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,414
    Jerry Weist's Comic Art Price Guide 2011
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