Earlier this week I saw a post at the CGC boards that the legendary Frank Frazetta had just moved one of his painting for a sum of $1,000,000. In the fine art world we are used to seeing figures in this range and well above, but for somebody who most would find identifiable as a ‘genre’ artist whose most well known for work in comic books and fantasy images it reportedly represents a personal (confirmed) highest sale. What’s most impressive is that I think most people would agree that the piece, “The Berserker”, isn’t among his (at least) three most iconic paintings.
Equally impressive, (and in the most non-morbid sense possible) is that the price was obtained while Frazetta still lives. As somebody who collects comic book art on a small level and has more than a few covers of more modern SF/F books, part of me wants to champion this sale as some sort of selfish benchmark or validation in general to SF/F enthusiasts, but more and more I don’t really care about dumb shit like that, and I just love seeing an artist who I admire getting 7-figure attention. It should be noted that several potential buyers and insiders have for years brought news that Frazetta had been offered in excess of this figure, but had declined to part with them. Even though I have very little doubt that The Egyptian Queen, Conan and of course Death Dealer would garner enough attention to make him a millionaire all over again, in the art world it is always nice to see a confirmed sale.
I actually think that for new comic readers (the existence of which I sometimes think is me being most optimistic) Frazetta is probably not as appreciated or as known as he should be–or even eas older comic fans may believe he is. He’s never been terribly prolific, and even his all time classic works in the medium like that adorns Weird Science Fantasy#29, are on covers that have very little contemporary exposure.
Maybe if this news hits some comic sites, some of them will take a gander at more of his work, as we really are talking about –even while acknowledging the whole perfunctory “art is subjective” thought– the undisputed king of Fantasy painters. Then again, as a buyer I want people to stay away from Fantasy (and SF) covers for at least a few more years!