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Frank Frazetta Masterpiece Sold for aDALLAS — At The Earth's Core, a 1974 masterpiece by Frank Frazetta, sold for $1,075,500 during day two of Heritage Auction's summer Comics & Comic Art Auction in Dallas — setting a world auction record for the hugely popular artist. The important illustration was used for the cover of the first Pellucidar paperback novel by the legendary writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs.
World Record $1+ Million by Heritage Auctions
Frazetta At The Earth's Core world record auction price
"Heritage has a strong reputation of getting top dollar for Frazetta artworks, and this painting surpassed our previous record by more than double its auction price," said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. "We expected strong interest, partly because At The Earth's Core is significantly larger than virtually every painting we've ever auctioned by the artist."
The 21-inch by 29-inch oil on canvas hung in the Frazetta Museum for many years. His powerful paintings appeared on book covers every year from 1963 through 1996, however At The Earth's Core stands out as an enduring classic image of Frazetta's work. The meticulous attention to detail in both the foreground and the background tell an entire story in one image – a talent the master of modern fantasy art did better than anyone else.
"If you are a collector of Mr. Frazetta's vision and talent, this is the painting to have," Hignite said. "It represents everything he did so well, from painting the female form to depicting realistic monsters and cliffhanger scenarios."
HERITAGE AUCTION DESCRIPTIONFrank Frazetta At The Earth's Core Paperback Cover Painting Original Art (1974). This boldly stunning (and massive) original Frank Frazetta piece was used for the cover of the first Pellucidar novel by the legendary writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs! It is one of the most popular Frazetta images from his peak period, and from the artist's association with one of the most important science-fiction and fantasy authors of all time. In short, this dramatic masterpiece is quite simply one of the most important paintings by this artist to ever come to auction, made all the more so by its impressive scale, measuring over 21" x 29" inches, significantly larger than virtually every painting we've ever auctioned by the artist (no doubt reflecting the importance Frazetta placed on the image).
Few artists have had as much impact on fandom as Frank Frazetta. Whether an individual first came across his work on a paperback book, a poster on a wall, or a rock album cover, the impact of that image could stick with that person for the rest of their life. Frazetta's work with pulp stories in the early 1960s would begin a second act for an already accomplished career as an illustrator. He had worked in the comic industry since 1944. However, his paintings on the cover of reprints of works by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and many others, would set him on a different path, and redefine the look of sword and sorcerer paperback novel covers. His powerful paintings would appear on book covers every year from 1963 through 1996. Couple that talent with the cover for a book introducing the land of Pellucidar in the novel At The Earth's Core, and you have an enduring classic image! The story first appeared serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly in 1914, and wasn't collected into a novel until 1922. It was reprinted several times, with this breath-taking image used for the popular Burroughs editions in the 1970s. The painting is dated 1974, and appeared on the 1978 version.
As is the case with Frazetta's finest works, the image tells a rich and moving story in one image, and in this case it quite literally is weaving an essential part of the narrative. Frazetta of course excelled in masterfully dynamic compositions that lead the viewer's eye endlessly though a scene, resonating on multiple levels. Here, Dian is menaced by a Mahar in the subterranean caves. One of the most fantastic and often overlooked aspects of this incredible piece is the amount of detail in the background. When used as a book cover, the upper right portion was covered with text. When used as a print, the resolution was not high enough to fully represent the amazing detail properly. In that upper right area there are two more Mahars and one of their ape-like servants, a Sagoth. Their eyes, haunted and piecing, peer from the depths. Also in that upper portion is a giant snake body, and the left side has a wonderful reptile by the staircase.
The sensual character of Dian dominates this image, however, and with good reason. Frank Frazetta has long been known for his talent at drawing gorgeous, fascinating women. The fluid flip of her hair, and the supple roundness of her form show this as one of his finest female forms ever.
This painting hung in the Frazetta Museum for many years. It is produced in oil on canvas board and is handsomely open front framed in an ornate wooden frame that measures 29.75" x 38", with an image area of 21.5" x 29.5". It is in Excellent condition.
Frank Frazetta (American, b. 1928): An artistic prodigy, Frank Frazetta broke into comic books at the age of 16 out of economic necessity. A series of landmark Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies and several outstanding EC jobs brought Frazetta to the attention of comic strip artist Al Capp, and he was soon hired to assist on the Li'l Abner Sunday strips from 1952-61. By the time that Frazetta had quit working for Capp, the comic book market had atrophied and his freelance opportunities had all but dried up. Frazetta was forced into the illustration market at large, and it proved to be a blessing in disguise. After creating a series of well-received movie posters and paperback covers, Frazetta's fortune was secured when he painted his world-famous paperback covers for Robert E. Howard's Conan character. A string of spectacular covers for Warren Publishing's titles Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella added to his success. Frank Frazetta is now widely regarded as the master of modern fantasy art.
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