Americana Fall 2002
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Lawrence Herndon was active in the field of pulp cover painting from 1920 to 1932. This was the period where pulps were on the brink of exploding into the sensationalism they are best remembered for. Tales of death cults, world domination, and incredible cruelty were just starting to make their appearances in the pages of a select group of titles. But Herndon produced the bulk of his work slightly earlier, in a time where many of the pulps were more family oriented in their choice of stories. Of course, since the beginning of the pulps there had always been titles that specialized in adventure tales, Argosy and Blue Book to name just two. Herndon worked for both, as well as a dozen of their competitors, but none moreso than Blue Book. As a matter of fact, the bulk of his output was for that title, and he was even selected to be the sole cover artist from early 1930 to mid 1932. During the bulk of that run, chapters of Burroughs stories appeared in each issue, allowing Herndon to treat us to his interpretations of John Carter and Tarzan. This particular painting appears to be from the mid-1920's, probably done for an issue of Argosy. It pictures a thieving western devil who is about to receive his just deserts from a Mongolian axeman. Of course, to western audiences the same image would represent a plucky, relic hunting adventurer having a run in with an ignorant savage of the Orient. Perspective aside, it is colorful, campy, and a real treasure from a time where reading pulps was the main source of downtime entertainment for most Americans. Item: Original Lawrence Herndon pulp cover painting for an unknown adventure pulp, circa 1920-1930, done in oils on canvas and measuring 24 by 34 inches in size. The canvas has experienced some minor restoration (possibly vintage) in the patching of four small punctures, primarily in the large yellow area. The restoration is not visible from the front. The work is boldly signed in the bottom left corner.
Original Pulp Cover Painting by Lawrence Herndon (Possibly Argosy or Blue Book)-Circa 1920 to 1930
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