American artist Gene Szafran created a mindboggling amount of book covers for fantasy and science fiction paperbacks in the 60’s and 70’s, in a signature hallucinatory, kaleidoscopic style, which more often than not incorporated the nude female form. As male gaze-y art goes, I guess this is pretty tolerable? I’d much rather look at naked ladies than naked dudes, and I find these works staggeringly beautiful.
Szafran produced over 125 paperback covers for various publishers including Bantam Books and New American Library. He also did work for many magazines, including Boy’s Life, Cosmopolitan, Fortune, McCall’s, Penthouse and Playboy. It’s interesting to note that amongst all the trippy, futurist sci-fi cover art for books by the likes of Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury, he did a whole slew of book covers for Daphne du Maurier’s works of fiction. Of course, the drama of du Maurier’s works were of a decidedly more terrestrial nature (I mean they could be somewhat otherworldly, but none of the stories take place off the planet or anything like that) so the art is definitely less fantastical, but it’s still got an uncanny, somewhat ominous charm.
Anyway, I just learned of this guy tonight and I haven’t been able to unearth a whole lot of information on him, but I thought I’d share my favorites from amongst his works, below.
Featured image from Hermophrodeity, the Autobiography of a Poet by Alan Friedman.