|Dec 15 2022
The cover art on Le voyage a Marseille by Alex Cadourcy was painted by someone new to our website. He signed his work as Arrigoni, as you see at lower left. Try as we might, we can't come up with more than that single name, though we did find other nice covers he created. Therefore this particular artist will remain a mystery for now. Cadourcy, though, was no mystery—he was aka André Héléna, and he wrote this for Éditions Le Lucane, copyright 1961.
|Jun 8 2022
Above: a well worn cover for André Héléna's Fanfan la douleur, for Éditions le Trotteur's Condor collection, 1953. The art is by Jacques Thibésart, aka Nik, and it caught our eye because it seems to have been inspired by the famous promo image from Gilda of Glenn Ford losing his temper and slapping Rita Hayworth. At least we think so. If that's the case Thibésart wasn't going for an exact duplicate, but it feels about the same. You can check for yourself at our collection of Hollywood stars—including men on men, women on men, and women on women—slapping each other. It's fourth in the set.
|Jun 22 2020
Jean David is one of the great French illustrators of the mid-century era, and this cover for Kathy Woodfield's 1955 novel Massacres à l'anisette shows him at his best. Woodfield, as we recently mentioned, was a pseudonym for André Hélena, and he wrote this for the Parisian publisher Éditions de la Seine for its Collection Rafale. David was based in Marseilles and was active from the 1940s and onward, working often with Le Méridional, and specializing in small drawings for V magazine. In our opinion he truly shone on paperback covers. Take a closer look below at how beautifully rendered his female figure is. He did far too few book covers. In fact we've seen only a handful. But you can bet that each time we run into one we'll share it here. We think he's great. You can see some of his mini art here, and another brilliant paperback cover at the bottom of this post.
|Jun 16 2020
Like clockwork, it's time once more for Jef de Wulf, one of the most reliable paperback illustrators of the mid-century era. Every cover he painted, for whatever company employed him, was stylish and unique. He was automatic. Here's an example of him at his best on this 1952 cover for Faudra cracher au bassinet, by André Helena writing as Kathy Woodfield, for Éditions la Dernière Chance's series Le Roman Noir Féminin. We don't know anything else about the novel except that the title translates as “you'll have to spit in the bassinet,” which is French slang meaning to give reluctantly. It only makes sense once you know that “bassinet” doesn't just mean a baby's bed, as it does in English, but also a church collection dish. Eew. We give unreluctantly more de Wulf here, here, and here.
|Oct 26 2016
The first step is a doozy, as they say, but in vintage fiction so is the last one and all those in between. Above and below are assorted paperback covers featuring characters who've had a bad time navigating stairs, a few due to accidents but most via ill intent from third parties. We also have one hardback dust sleeve we added at the bottom because it was so interesting. Just scroll down, but do it carefully.
|Jun 19 2012
A couple of times we’ve shown you the distinctive work of French illustrator Jef de Wulf, and today we’re back with four more of his pieces in a slightly different vein. Rather than his usual textured backgrounds, here he works with negative white space while producing three covers for Editions de la pensée moderne’s 1950s-era Collection tropique, and one for Editions Armand Fleury’s Collection Le crépuscule. These, we think, showcase de Wulf at his best. We’ll have more later, and you can see those other covers here and here.