Monday, October 10, 2011

Auction records: Allen Anderson original 1950's pulp magazine cover painting "War-Maid of Mars"

(American pulp artist, 1908-1995)

“War-Maid of Mars”
Oil on board, 20 x 14 in. Signed lower right.
Formerly of the collection of artist Frank Kelly Freas.
From the Jane and Howard Frank Collection.

This painting, illustrating a scene from the science fiction novella “War-Maid of Mars” by Poul Anderson and used as the cover piece for the May 1952 issue of Planet Stories magazine, is thought to be one of only three surviving science fiction covers by Allen Anderson. According to Robert Weinberg's A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (1988, p. 310), “’an unusual twist of fate’ was reported as the reason behind the survival of this painting. When Fiction House, publishers of the magazine, went out of business in the sixties, all of the original art stored in its warehouse was burned by workers who saw no reason to keep the art. Fortunately, Frank Kelly Freas had rescued several of his own paintings years before.” Later, as Freas told it, he took the Anderson painting, one of two, in trade for monies owed him when he was visiting the publisher to discuss his own artwork, shortly before the fire.

Lot includes a copy of the magazine.

Sold for: $38,837.50 (includes Buyer’s Premium)
Date sold: October 15, 2008
Auction house: Heritage Auctions

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