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    Frank Frazetta A Princess of Mars Painting Original Art (1970). Possibly the most famous of all of the John Carter of Mars covers by Frazetta, the artist actually painted two versions in 1970, with the first being published as a Doubleday hardback dustjacket cover. Fearing that the original art would not be returned from the publisher, Frazetta immediately painted a version for himself - the stellar painting we're offering - since he was so proud of the image. Frazetta personally related to Joe and Nadia Mannarino (see below), and presumably others, that he loved this second painting even more than the original (which he actually sold in the early 1970s). We're showing the two paintings side-by-side online for review. Regardless of which version you prefer, both represent the quintessential heroic fantasy image, with the bold, strong hero, the voluptuous female at his legs, and surrounded by a dangerous alien environment.

    This classically composed Frazetta piece is rich with subtle shadows and textures that draws the viewer into the world of Barsoom, and was in no small part responsible for the resurgence in popularity of this Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that was the first in the series and originally published as a serialized adventure way back in 1912! Originally appearing as "Under the Moons of Mars" in The All-Story magazine, it wasn't collected into a novel and given the name A Princess of Mars until 1917. The series was republished several times over the next few decades, but Frazetta's is the most striking cover for the novel, and easily one of the most recognizable and memorable pieces of science-fiction art in history.

    The painting is rendered in oil on stretched canvas with an image area of 15.5" x 19.75", and open front framed to 22.5" x 26.75". There is a white dot on the lower left (to the left of the green Martian's left elbow), and a few white dots on the top margin area. These seem to be paint and not paint-flakes. The frame has a minor scuff on the top corners, some color rub and chips on the corners, and light surface dirt. The frame is in Very Good condition; the original art is in Excellent condition.




    Remembering Frank Frazetta and A Princess of Mars.

    One would think that after seeing, holding, owning, and auctioning so much of Frank Frazetta's art, we would have run out of adjectives to describe the work of the master of the genre. His vision of men fighting with swords and axes to defend women helped define fantasy heroes like Conan, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Frazetta's works have become the standard against which all other fantasy art is measured.

    As with every great artist and outstanding work of art, there are still nuances and adjectives to be noted and described for this painting, "The Princess of Mars", 1970. This work of art was originally rendered as the cover of "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Science Fiction Book Club, Doubleday Publishing.

    "A Princess of Mars" was the first of ERB's Barsoom series to be published by Doubleday, and who better to illustrate that notion than Frazetta? Full of swordplay and daring feats, John Carter of Mars and Dejah Thoris are featured prominently, in all their glory.

    John Carter, with his sword above his head, stands victoriously over the body of his enemy. Dejah Thoris is nestled securely next to John Carter. There is something to note about Frazetta's women, and I was lucky enough to have this discussion with Frank, at his studio. They are often thought of as helpless women in need of rescuing, but they are not! They are fiercely strong, clad in their finery and their armor, and their expressions are sublime and confident.

    Frazetta confirmed all of this and said that he loved women, that they are to be celebrated for all their abilities to care and nurture. These heroes would not exist without these women!

    As it was the first Doubleday cover, Frazetta feared that the original art would not be returned. In fact, through another source, we had the honor of auctioning the published version of "The Princess of Mars" at Christie's Auction House in 1993.

    However, Frazetta recounted to us numerous times, that he so loved the image and hated the fact that it would remain with the publisher, that he executed "one for ME" at the same time! He also confided to us that he loved this second painting even more, as he emphasized different aspects in the work that is offered here.

    At first glance, the two images look exactly alike, but if examined further, one can notice the subtle differences. The figure of John Carter of Mars, is essentially identical to the published version. Dejah Thoris' face in both paintings is oval and beautiful, with a shock of coal black hair, devoid of any clothing save some jewelry and ornaments. Also, in this painting, Dejah's stance is more upright, indicating her prowess and confidence, and depicting a stronger woman. The breast plate and jewelry in this painting are more ornate, and the planets are much more defined.

    Frank rarely totally revisited a work of art and when he did he would change it dramatically. That was his motivation, he had to challenge himself and always felt he was in a competition. However, here he felt he had hit the mark so successfully that even he had to turn away.

    Nadia Mannarino
    2020


    More Information: Edit 8/19: Corrected a grammatical error.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2020
    10th-13th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 36
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    I have done a preliminary analysis and the total of the hammer prices was $67,550. With BP, the final figure was $80,722.25. That is against the total insurance value of $34,785 or 2.32 x ‘pre-auction estimate’. Incredible, really, so a big thanks.
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