Monday, August 17, 2009


Suppose that you were a baron, born of noble blood, but you lost your rank and title after the heir to the throne was murdered. Then let's say your country declared war on its neighbor but lost the war after a long bloody battle and as a result, your country was dissolved and the economy collapsed so you lost your family money. Then to make the story interesting, how about if we say that the communists took over but were kicked out in another war. And let's suppose further that you and your good friends, movie actors Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre, decided to flee the country but before you could leave, you were severely injured in a sword fight over the honor of a woman so that you were unable to get around or perform conventional work when you arrived in your new land.

With that type of background, what kind of job would you possibly be qualified to perform?

Obviously, an illustrator.

Sandor Leidenfrost was a baron in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. His family's title dated back to the 16th century. In the tradition of nobility everywhere, Baron Leidenfrost studied fencing and fought duels and lived off his family money. But he also studied the arts and became a master of perspective. (It's always good to have something to fall back on, even when you are a baron).

After the unpleasent events described above, Leidenfrost changed his name and emigrated to New York City. Because of his wounds from the duel, he could not walk around and apply for a normal job but he drew and painted a portfolio of artwork that Lugosi and Lorre shopped around for him. On the strength of that portfolio, they obtained enough assignments to support the whole group. After Leydenfrost recovered, Lugosi and Lorre left for Hollywood and stardom, while Leydenfrost prospered as an illustrator. He specialized in dramatic pictures of aircraft and spaceships; during World War II he painted a famous series of 35 illustrations of warplanes for Esquire magazine.

He also worked for magazines such as Life and Colliers. He was well known his detailed and meticulous drawings with charcoal and watercolor.

The moral of the story is that when some pain-in-the-ass illustrator starts putting on airs and acting like he is royalty, be careful-- he just may be.


Thomas said...

Glad to see this blog is gaining some readers. Over the past few years, you have shared some amazing images and insights which I might never have seen otherwise.

Big thanks from a loyal subscriber.

Jack Ruttan said...

I'm pretty interested in the image some illustrators sold to the world. Chas. Addams and Edward Gorey being gothic, the Mad and Marvel people having fun all the time in whacky workplaces.

Most cartoonists surround by goofiness, when it was mostly art materials and deadlines.

Yet it does help to be a little nutty or otherworldly to be an illustrator, otherwise you would have gotten a "real" job.

emikk said...

this is the real deal, deal with it!

Chris said...

Love that image of a thrusting agro-economy reaping its way through munitions industry. Interesting how he enobled his subjects...

Rob Howard said...

How appropriate, now that Laurence let slip that I am the Duc d'Insults and I feel a peculiar attachment to the composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, who died in a tragic conducting accident (no kidding).

David Apatoff said...

Thanks, Thomas. Your kind words are much appreciated.

Jack, I think that working alone at an easel or drawing board is largely a hermit's life. Even if it doesn't make you nuts, it gives you a lot of latitude to fashion your own image because the public only knows you through your work. Frazetta may have been a henpecked house husband who wore polyester shirts and listened to dopey low brow radio shows, but we think of him as a swashbuckling barbarian who could fight monsters on Venus.

David Apatoff said...

Chris, I agree with you, that swords-into-plowshares theme is neat. The "enobling" aura he gives heavy duty industrial equipment reminds me very much of Leslie Ragan. There is a real skill to that.

kev ferrara said...

I was just coming on here to write about Ragan... well nevermind.

This guy is great! Is this all in oil?

I love the old time imaginative stuff. Who knew a Baron could be so fertile.

David Apatoff said...

Kev-- great minds...

Yes, Leydenfrost did a ton of mechanical drawing work with charcoal and washes but I believe most of his painting was in oil. He became a "professor of perspective," back in an era when there was such a thing.

Don Coker said...

This is a great blog!

David Apatoff said...

Don, it is indeed a pleasure to hear from a man of such discernment and taste!

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding hell, who cares, David will understand: gosh these are wonderful.

Jack Ruttan said...

Still, the names usually call stuff forth, especially when they're associated with such memorable images.

mark morris said...


You wrote: "Frazetta may have been a henpecked house husband who wore polyester shirts and listened to dopey low brow radio shows."

Where did you hear this at?

kenmeyerjr said... keep showing me stuff I have never seen, David! This was incredibly interesting and entertaining, I am glad I checked in!

Rob Howard said...

>>>...listened to dopey low brow radio shows."

Where did you hear this at?<<<

What would be a convincing source for exposé by his children...his wife...American Artist magazine? What will it take for you to believe it? Could it be hyperbole,to make a point? Is it important that he's the All-American hero of your fast with a sword as with a pen?

Rob Howard said...

In looking at this work I am struck by how dated illustrations of the future become as compared to that DC-7 and the Northern Lights...that's a dandy composition!

Rob Howard said...

Hi Don. Any relation to Paul Coker?

David Apatoff said...

Mark, you don't have to have met Frank or Ellie at the Frazetta museum to find abundant examples of these characteristics. When Frank gave his art away to his buddies, Ellie is the one who overruled him, chased the friends down and dragged it back; when Frank painted "Alien Crucifixion," Ellie got upset with him for being sacrilegious; when Frank drew explicit pictures, she announced she was going to destroy them. She had a whim of iron, but that's not a bad thing; he was probably a better person for it. Similarly, Frank made no secret of the fact that he was a Rush Limbaugh ditto head, and in more than one interview confidently mouthed the most simple minded platitudes and conspiracy theories he had learned from Limbaugh and his ilk. Frazetta was a brilliant artist, but when it came to the political scene the man was a dolt.

I get the sense from your question that you somehow think I am trying to diminish the man and his work. I am not. I am amused by the contrast between his swashbuckling art and the domestic life that made him comfortable. Same thing with Jack Kirby, whose art and stories traversed the cosmos but who was a short little pot bellied Jewish guy who lived in the suburbs and loved his wife. These are not bad things, they are just ... interesting.

mark morris said...


Thanks for responding to my question. When I wrote the post I was wondering if I left it too open ended, that people would question my intent.
I enjoy reading this blog and have been edified by it. I get the sense from your posts that you have integrity. You always seem to separate opinion from fact. And you back up your arguments very well.
So, I did not think you were trying to diminish the man and his work. It was interesting to learn this about Frazetta. The infantile political views are not surprising. I was a bit surprised about the henpecked part. Frazetta seemed like he would not be the type (macho, athlete, 1950's,etc.) to let a woman "run his life." I mean no disrespect to women, but he was a blue collar kid from Brooklyn after all.
I am so used to reading political websites that I feel like I need a source for everything! I have not read all the Frazetta books or a lot of his interviews so I am not well informed about his personal life.

Rob Howard said...

>>> Frazetta was a brilliant artist, but when it came to the political scene the man was a dolt. <<<

...and as we all know from the thorough indoctrination our professors gave us, there is no example of a conservative who was not a knuckle-dragger. Bill Buckley just appeared to be intelligent because he managed to memorize the dictionary, but he really could not have been intelligent and hold the opinions he held.

Thus Spake The Common Era Orthodoxy. Had Frazetta, like the intelectualoids in show biz, campaigned for Obama he would have shown discernment and intelligence.

Othodox politics is now used in lieu of the old Sanford-Binet IQ tests.

David Apatoff said...

Now, now Rob...

If you want to take your political argument outside (meaning off my art blog) I will be happy to chat with you about the long list of brilliant conservatives I admire. I've read everything that Peter Viereck (a true conservative) and Arthur Koestler ever wrote. I have the highest respect for Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss. I am impressed with George Will's intelligence and facility with language. I suspect they would all agree with me that Rush Limbaugh is an anti-intellectual oaf. I used him as an example because, apart from the fact that Frazetta quotes him, I didn't think he was even a close call.

David Apatoff said...

Mark, I wouldn't put too much weight on that "henpecked" part. Ellie was certainly a tough cookie (and it was to Frazetta's credit that, no matter how macho he was, he was smart enough not to cross her). But the wife of an artist often ends up being his business manager and has to be the bad guy if she wants her children to eat.

I admired much about their relationship. Personally, I think their poor early days (when they had squirt gun fights in the nude in a dark apartment) were far more romantic than a bevy of harem girls clasping the stallion thighs of some barbarian with a phallic cudgel. If I knew enough about their relationship, I'd have written an "Artists In Love" post about them. I hope somebody does. I just don't feel I'm qualified to do it.

kenmeyerjr said...

Have you noticed how many of the threads get hijacked by Frazetta? And he's not even around!

Many men who have been married can attest to the fact that many a "man's man" is not the dominant one at home. And David makes a good point about the spouse often being the business manager and forced to be the 'bad guy.' His political views are disappointing, but not surprising...and in the context of the quality of his work, inconsequential.

My admiration for the work of Frazetta will never be diminished by his personal views, as I assume most of his admirers would say.

Marc Kingsland said...

I prefer to remain as ignorant as possible about artists lives.
I want to view their work and see it stand on it's own without the veil of attributed persona and histories getting in the way.

It's often a vain goal of course.

Marc Kingsland said...

"I am struck by how dated illustrations of the future become..."

Nothing dates like the future.

Anonymous said...

The dated look is much of their charm. The image of the supply drop is haunting.


Rob Howard said...

>>>Nothing dates like the future.<<<

I was taken by the large thermocouple discs...a forerunner of the marvelously efficient photovoltaic cells that are in every household (right next to the windmill and robotic Don Quixote). Obviously, the pilot had flown military aircraft because he landed the rocket much as one would a B-29. I'm sure that they were planning to smooth out a runway later on.

What's really impressive is the forethought that went into supplying the crew with peaveys, so they could gather lots of wood on the moon to fuel the engines for the trip home.

Ah, visions of the future...most folks don't know that the tower on the Empire State Building has a mechanism for docking dirigibles. That unfortunate occurence at Lakehurst NJ could have been avoided if the ground crew had peaveys.

Laurence John said...

i particularly like picture 2.
the art deco vision of the future is very alluring.
the way the rocket is blasting off with minimal mess.

Rob Howard said...

>>>the art deco vision of the future is very alluring.
the way the rocket is blasting off with minimal mess.<<<

I am particularly impressed with the illustrators understanding of the time/space continuum and that space is essentially curved. That accounts for the headlight in front of the space ship. It's to see around those dangerous corners in space. You never know what's coming in the other lane.

I'll bet those space ships all had cup holders and ash trays in the arms of the seats (and a cupboard for storing their peaveys).

David Apatoff said...

Anonymous/cp, Anonymus/TftT, and Laurence-- Thanks, I'm glad you like these images. I share the view that there is something alluring about the art deco / streamlined look. I agree with those who have commented on how they depict a clean, airbrushed, sweet view of the world, with all the safety and security that nostalgia brings. Nothing here is dented or soiled. This world is very nonthreatening. That's part of what made socialist realism art, or the country hills of Grant Wood, so appealing to large numbers of people.

Between you and me, I also suspect that, at a subliminal level, we like this art deco look because we are biologically attracted to things that are smooth and rounded and full. Breasts and buttocks and ripe fruit have that bountiful look to them that attracts for reasons that perhaps only mother nature knows. It seems to me that art deco is a style that plays on our attraction to fullness, and gets us where we live.

David Apatoff said...

Rob, since you seem to have some understanding of the engineering for these rocketships, can you tell me why they don't have windshield wipers? I've heard there are storms in space all the time.

Kenmeyerjr, I agree that it is hard to have a discussion in this field without Frazetta's name creeping in sooner or later. The man is a formidable force, no question about it.

Marc, I agree that it always makes sense to start out letting the art speak for itself. I seem to back into information about the artist just by hanging around the art.

Unknown said...

Addams and Edward Gorey being gothic, the Mad and Marvel people having fun all the time in whacky workplaces.


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Tom Lynch said...

You've done it AGAIN!!!!... solid gold!
Thank you for a terrific post.

Edward said...

Isnt it rather disrepectful to Mr Frazetta to comment on his politics or opinions.He is known for being a great artist and many of your commentators reveal their inferioriy by trying to find fault with a man who is highly regarded the world over. None of you would have the audacity to express these opinions to his face so why do you feel you can belittle him in so pompous a manner here on this forum.

John C. said...

Imagine weighing your next career path: make paintings about the moon or pilot a rocketship that actually goes there. American astronaut Alan Bean talks about exactly this in the link below.... I guess it came down to a case of “been there, done that”. He's a funny guy, talking about his moon boots that he had bronzed, and cutting up his NASA patches for the sake of his art.

*Rob Howard: this dude's got access to “aviation plywood”! Ever heard of it, and if my paintings on it are flying through space at warp-speed to the next galaxy, will the panels warp?

raphael said...

>>>most folks don't know that the tower on the Empire State Building has a mechanism for docking dirigibles.<<<

wee, i knew, i knew!
even more funny, in this context, is how i came to that particular bit of knowledge: i watched a film that really didnt have much impact at any box office - but it looked pretty. the films name is "sky captain and the world of tomorrow" and it features a similar retro science fiction approach than the illustrations here, just a different setting (alternate ~post ww2-timeline meets flying robots and stuff).
the film starts with a huge graf-zeppelin type dirigible docking to the empire state, resulting in a rather pretty picture, the joined silhouettes and insane lots of searchlights sweeping the sky.
so i googled that docking thing and whamo, there we are.

(and well, while the mocie wasnt the most cerebral experience of all times, it was pretty fun in a cheesecake sort of way. and gwyneth paltrow looks amazingly pretty in it)

Rob Howard said...

>>>*Rob Howard: this dude's got access to “aviation plywood”!<<<

Never touch the stuff. Plywood would be too heavy in that my attempts at aeronautical engineering are paper airplanes.

David Apatoff said...

Edward, I couldn't disagree more. Mr. Frazetta is the one who chose to pontificate publicly about his political views (apparently because the adulatory fanboys who surround him have persuaded him that if he is a brilliant painter, he must also be a brilliant political theoretician). I said nothing disrespectful about his artwork. Jack raised a valid point about the image that artists project to the world through their art, and I think these subjects are fairly discussed in that context.

I would not express these opinions to Frazetta's face only because it would be a complete waste of an extraordinary opportunity. It would be fascinating to talk to him about art but a discussion with Frazetta about politics would only be sad and disappointing.

Edward said...

If Mr Frazetta was asked a question about his views and he answered it,isnt that an act of courtesy? You may hold a different opinion but that doesnt give you carte blanche to pompously belittle a man of great achievements or mock the 'fanboys' who take an interest in his work- which you are also by the way, judging by your comments in the second paragraph of your response.In fact your comments display great immaturity in the way that you can respect a man's work,but not the man who created the work.A period of self-analysis should be recommended to you so you can rethink your position.

David Apatoff said...

"your comments display great immaturity in the way that you can respect a man's work,but not the man who created the work."

Yes, I am afraid you have summarized my position quite accurately; there are plenty of circumstances where I respect an artist's work, but not the person. We will just have to disagree on this. On the good side, my opinion of an artist as a person is quite irrelevant unless it sheds some light on the art itself, so you usually won't have to listen to my opinion about an artist as a human being.

Edward said...

David let's be clear about this.

I could understand a reasonable person not giving respect to one such as Hitler or Stalin or a child murderer for example,but to withold respect for a man because you don't agree with his political views seems an extremely Il-Liberal attitude and one unworthy of an educated man, which I take you to be.
I will not be surprised if this comment doesn't make it onto your usually fine forum.

Thomas Fluharty said...


kev ferrara said...

How come nobody has mentioned Hugh Ferris yet?

As far as art movements go, I would think nouveau was a lot more feminine than Deco. I always associate Deco with the angular, tectonic, masculine symbols of pre-columbian or aztec or egyptian art but writ in steel and concrete and with elevators.

The idea that somebody would be "disappointed" that Frazetta is conservative really speaks to the political sickness of partisanship that has overtaken this country. If you can be disappointed in a man because of his politics, you have no sense of epistemology whatsoever. (That is, you are utterly owned by this sick, perverted viewpoint fed to you by your news source of choice: While it is a metaphysical certitude that your sources are the LONE BEARERS of TRUTH and FACT... it is also infallibly so that EVERYTHING SAID BY THE OTHER SIDE IS DEMONIC LIES!)

The way the engine of politics works is this: Control the sources of information, only taking what is needed out of its original complex context. Insert Dogma to interpret this information. Fuel fire with hatred, blame, demonization, character destruction, insinuation, and whatever else works to sell the papers.

Politics is a manifestation of mass unhappiness, gullibility, ego, fear, and all sorts of other good stuff like that. And people who think it is more important than anything else and that all else must serve the political or ideological dream, ARE THE PROBLEM.

By the way, most great artists in history would probably be considered conservative. That is, they subscribe to the Russel Kirk definition of conservatism as the "negation of ideology." The negation of political ideology, that is. For a great artist, Art IS the ideology. And political manipulation in all its guises, is as transparent as the bimbos, charlatans and knaves who scribble today's WORD in grubby newsprint, or proffer it daily on the idiot box.

That was fun,

Chad Sterling said...

I like these paintings,but imagine having Lugosi and Lorre repping for you and then finding out your rival had Karloff and Price working for him! And maybe the Wolfman working for another guy...Jeez, you won't find that in Illustration magazine.

Charlotte said...

Hey, notice the lack of female participation here? Egads! Rocket ships, big phallics, defying the laws of physics, ...oops, ILLUSTRATIONS of rocket ships, big phallics, defying the laws of physics, etc, -- snooze...yawn -- Good Night.

-- Charlotte

David Apatoff said...

Charlotte, I'm honored to have the entire city as a reader. I have visited you on more than one occasion but I had no idea!

You do raise a legitimate point; we do seem to have drifted in a particular direction lately. I appreciate your pointing it out. It would be even better if you would help shape the direction of the dialogue by adding some "female participation," if not on these then on other recent subjects such as the garden of Eden, childhood pleasures or individual lovely drawings.

David Apatoff said...

Raphael, I not only remember that movie, I really and truly have a "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow T shirt"

Thanks Where We Meet!

Thomas, always an honor to have you visit.

Kev, I am a big fan of the architectural drawings of Ferris. And not to slow down your cathartic rant (which was indeed quite impressive) but from my personal perspective, it was not at all disappointing that Frazetta is a conservative-- it was instead interesting that he is such a simple minded conservative. We intuitively expect an artist's brilliance in one area to carry over into other areas. As I told Rob, in my view there are plenty of brilliant and admirable conservatives around, but Rush Limbaugh isn't one of them; his specialty seems to be riling up and manipulating the uneducated and credulous.

Chad- an interesting scenario!

kev ferrara said...

I don't mind people despising Rush Limbaugh. As long as they despise Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann too. I don't mind a little fox news bashing, as long as I hear the CNN bashing as well. When there isn't a matched pair, I become instantly sure that I am dealing with a person who doesn't realize how politics works. And those are the most dangerous kinds of people.

Since I haven't read the "simple minded" Frazetta quote, I do hope you will provide it, as well as the context in which it was said.

I had some artist friends who had met Frazetta some time ago, and they were APPALLED, appalled, I tell you, that he was sitting with his family in the den watching Wheel of Fortune.

Hearing that this was appalling to my friends made me appalled at my friends.

Chad Sterling said...

Famous Monsters of Illustrationland!

Charlotte said...

>>Charlotte, I'm honored to have the entire city as a reader. I have visited you on more than one occasion but I had no idea!<<

I love your blog, David. I've written that before and thanked you but without a website or blog, I thought my namesake's city was appropriate this time instead of anonymous.

My childhood pleasures were drawing and being an all-about tomboy. But as much as a tomboy that I was, I didn't catch the comic book fever; that really is a boy thing, isn't it? Frazetta is a boy's thing, too, I think. The man is certainly talented and I admire his skill but guys droll over his illustrations, the images and what they evoke more than the talent, most women don't. The Falling Panties phenomenon, very cute and funny, perhaps is a guy thing, too? ;o)

You've made me realize that a high percentage of male artists/illistrators entered the field led by their libido. Not at all a bad thing but after the hormones have settled, it can be a bit boring.

I do really enjoy reading all the commenters, here. Your blog attracts a high caliber readership. Bravo, David.

-- Charlotte

Rob Howard said...

>>>If Mr Frazetta was asked a question about his views and he answered it,isnt that an act of courtesy?<<<

Perhaps in an age where people do not know what courtesies are, that's true. Generally, keeping one's mouth shut is the best advice. In that way people do not know that David is a bit to the left of Mao Tse Tung and I'm just a tad to the right of Louis XVI. But we never state our views for good reason...discourteous people lay in wait, claiming we answer them as an act of courtesy.

Rob Howard said...

>>>Egads! Rocket ships, big phallics, defying the laws of physics, ...oops, ILLUSTRATIONS of rocket ships, big phallics, defying the laws of physics, <<<

Do you have a problem with penises? Some things look like penises...pencils, bread sticks, telephone poles and bananas. Nobody designed them to look like penises. Even though the tops of spray cans are purposely designed to look like vaginas, I don't get disturbed by that fact. ARe you also disturbed by the vagina-top spray cans or Georgia O'Keeffe paintings of floral vulvas?

They don't bother me and i don't feel threatened by them (although some are awfully large and could consume a grown man if he got too close).

Anonymous said...

Not threatened, dear Rob -- bored. No offense to all the penises out there including yours.

David Apatoff said...

Kev, I am delighted that Frazetta sits in the den with his family and watches "Wheel of Fortune." That's an even better example for my point. The alchemy of art is far more miraculous, not less miraculous, because Frazetta ingests moronic daytime TV shows and then creates strange and exotic worlds which he conjures up perfectly, with eerie lighting and fanciful effects. What kind of metabolism is responsible for that kind of transformation? Not since Rapunzel spun gold out of straw...

If Frazetta had set up his easel in a land of barbarians and witches and painted what he saw, I would be far less impressed.

David Apatoff said...

Can I suggest that Rob's wisdom about politics ("we never state our views, for good reason") applies with equal force to penises? I don't know how the heck we got there from a bland, neutral treatment of poor Baron Leydenfrost but I for one don't see any great need to linger.

kev ferrara said...

I would say he wasn't ingesting Wheel of Fortune (which telecasted at 7pm when I used to watch it with my Italian grandfather when I was a kid). He was spending time with his family to regenerate his batteries. Wheel of Fortune was just the wallpaper in the room.

Uneducated, credulous, mindless, moronic... you seem to be on a roll with the anti-bourgeoise pejoratives. Is the heat preventing a sound sleep? :)


David Apatoff said...

Kev, I have to keep shifting adjectives to stay ahead of some of the disputatious muggles I have writing in. You wouldn't believe it, but one guy wrote in saying Frazetta was "watching" Wheel of Fortune, so I assumed that he was "ingesting" Wheel of Fortune (because if you watch something you generally absorb at least something from it) but this guy had the nerve to write back and say no no no, he wasn't so much "ingesting" Wheel of Fortune, it was more like it was the wallpaper in the room, as if he was in-the-presence-of-Wheel-of-Fortune-while-simultaneously-repelling-it-like-water-off-a-duck's-back, so then I've gotta come up with a less offensive synonym for "absorb" that means less than "assimilate" or "imbibe" but probably more than ignore, and once again I find myself in another goofy debate I never wanted to have about how many Frazzetas can dance on the head of a pin.

Frazetta is so well known you might think one can use him as a common datapoint, but you'll burn through your lexicon real fast trying to agree upon some common vocabulary to communicate with his ardent defenders.

Jan said...

Reading this forum two thoughts come to mind;
1.Frazetta is a giant surrounded by Lilliputian critics who look for any chink in his armor to traduce and humiliate him so they can feel better about themslves and their mediocrity.
2.Behind most Liberal facades there's some kind of cultural fascist waiting for the opportunity to control someone else's life.

David Apatoff said...

Jan, I don't see anyone on this blog criticizing Frazetta's art.

If you think it is a criticism of his work to say that Frazetta (just like Jack Kirby and a thousand other artists) leads an everyday family life, watching TV and getting mad about taxes and politicians, then I'm afraid I miss your point. If you think it is disrespectful to observe that such a family life is different from the world of rocket ships, barbarians and wenches, then I'm afraid you miss my point; I for one regard it as an interesting observation about the creative process generally, and I find the contrast kind of endearing.

Finally, if you think that because Frazetta paints cool pictures he must automatically be intelligent or politically astute, I would say you don't know very much about life. I personally think it was a mistake for Frazetta to use the forum created by his art to promulgate his theories about Nixon, the reasons for the war, Limbaugh, Clinton and similar issues-- at least without reading a book first. But it is his fame and he is free to spend it however he wants. That is not the focus of this blog (to the extent that it has a focus at all).

Jan said...

The point about this is, David ,that you reveal yourself to be one of the 'little people' by looking for an Achilles Heel by which to criticize Mr Frazetta.Actually I am not a fan of his work and definitely do not consider his paintings 'cool' but I do respect his achievements in the context of his penurious background and limited education which no doubt have informed his view of the world.I'm guessing here you've followed a more academic path in life which one would hope has given you a more nuanced view of things... which makes your denigration of his views a kind of intellectual bullying.You must see the man in his true context and not judge him by an unfair yardstick.

kev ferrara said...

Jeeze, that is strange David. What kind of people hang around this place, anyway?! Buncha scrappers.

David Apatoff said...

Kev-- ain't it the truth?

अर्जुन said...

Once trolling but now chumming, gorge away:

"Frazetta is so well known you might think one can use him as a common datapoint."

Why are these not in the books?

--ain't it the truth?

raphael said...

david: hooray for another person that apparently liked the movie. :)

as for frazetta:
i strongly support the position that my opinion about the artist and his art are two very different things. the oft-quoted example is that you can love wagners music without paying notice to his stance towards jews.
i really fancy the writing of china miéville but dislike his marxist beliefs with a passion and think hes just a bit more than slightly mad when he waxes about tolkien being basically fascist.

to say that one needs to tread down others by looking for slightest dents in their shining bright armour to elevate ones own puny self is just totally misplaced in this context.
frazetta is one hell of a fantasy artist. observation one.
frazetta happens to be a man of flesh and blood, having his strong and weak sides. observation two.
those two can coexist perfectly... and more important: there is a day-to-night difference between stating that frazettas political opinion (no matter which side, too) wasnt the most well-founded in the world, buying into conspiracy stuff and all, and stating that frazetta was a political dimwit, THUS HIS WORTH IS SOMEWHAT REDUCED AND -LOOK- I AM OH-SO-SMART BY POINTING IT OUT.

david can be accused of the first type (and im glad he can), but not the second.

au contraire, i think its much more degrading to put frazettas achievements into a wannabe objective context, to judge his work only by his lowlifeish background and bad education. "he did good paintings for an italian without proper schooling"
look at his stuff, it blows you off your feet. end of observation. frazettas background and education dont play the most meager role in what his pictures do. pictures as art are first and foremost pictures, not historical testaments to be read in proper factual context of the artists life and his times circumstances but simply looked at.

Rob Howard said...

Years ago, I ran into Frazetta when he was working for Al Capp. It hardly bears mentioning except that I had no idea I was encountering (according to these responses) a person who was to become a religious icon.

David Apatoff said...

Rob, I also met Frazetta and while in hindsight I do not recall him levitating off the ground, at the time (I was 15 and verrry impressed) it did seem like he had a halo. People just need a little time to grow and see more of the world.

jaleen said...

Darn - wish I'd known about the baron business.... my students would have gotten a kick out of that!!

David Apatoff said...

Thanks, Charlotte-- pleased to have you here (and especially pleased to hear from you) regardless of what city you are from. I supose I would not dispute that "a high percentage of male artists/illustrators entered the field led by their libido," although a high percentage of males tie their shoes or cross the street led by their libido so that should not surprise you too much. My question for you is, if they are different what do you think leads women to enter the art field?

Hi, Jaleen. Are you teaching about Leydenfrost? I'm glad to hear it. He seems largely forgotten these days.

Rob Howard said...

>>>Can I suggest that Rob's wisdom about politics ("we never state our views, for good reason") applies with equal force to penises? <<<

Not until you read Montaigne and learn to accept your unmentionable parts and functions that are identical to all other humans. To do otherwise is to engage in least, according to Montaigne...and he was a philosher of note and we're still defending poor Frank Frazetta, a garage mechanic if it were not for his talent.

Those of us who are not, at heart, garage mechanics must be so upset that we don't have his talent. How can such an inglorious clod have towering talent when we. The Chosen of educated and oh-so-wondrous, can't even manage to make one of his preliminary drawings?

Nature is unkind.

Rob Howard said...
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Rob Howard said...

>>>I don't know how the heck we got there from a bland, neutral treatment of poor Baron Leydenfrost but I for one don't see any great need to linger.<<<

If it is a mysetry, allow me to unravel it. Charlotte wrote The Standard Feminist Condemnation which mentions the evil penis or the equally evil testosterone (oh that we could be purified by estrogen).

Being such standard cant, that drones in the background of almost all female conversations, it escaped your notice...but not mine.

The spaceships are no more phallic than the rocks are vaginal. However, to mention that the tops of spray cans are deliberately designed to look like pudendum is tres outré and we're too polite to ever mention it, but it's perfectly acceptable hoary old pop-psych crap about phallic symbols.

Aww come on! Rather than bitch about a deeply flawed world that dead european white men made, just go out and make a marvelous world that Gaia would approve of. We're all waiting for history to be rewritten and sanitized with the spray cans with suggestive tops.

BTW I am one of those people, along with the Pope, who prays to a female deity.

Edward said...

Raphael must have problems reading my text.
I say exactly judge the man by his work and leave his opinions out of it.
Unfotunately some people bring his comments on other issues into a judgement on his work and because they dont fit a liberal worldview,negative comments are made.
Mr Frazetta is a great example of what a man can achieve without the aid of a 'proper' education and should be regarded as such and not sniped at.
As I have said, his work is not to my taste though I see his skill, but I admire his achievements nonetheless.

Unknown said...

Regarding Sandor Leydenfrost (known to his American family as Alexander), there was another actor who was in the group when he came from Hungary - Paul Lucas. They were known as the Four Ells (Ls). Actually, he wasn't nutty and didn't live off of his family. He was the Chancellor of Education for awhile in Hungary. He was a classy, talented, even-tempered man (in spite of the infamous duel) who may have been too caught up in his art to notice too much of the rest of the world but he was a great man. He passed those genes onto his only blood son (he also adopted the son of his second wife), who followed in his footsteps as a fabulous artist and amazing man, and he was my father. Sandor, then, obviously, was my grandfather. He did have an enormous imagination and a sixth-sense about him. His oil paintings were mostly commissioned by Esquire Magazine (that was the way he "illustrated" for that magazine-he turned in an original painting and they photographed it, then placed it in the magazine). His charcoals were mostly done for Look and Life Magazines. I'm delighted that you like his work.
Tina Leydenfrost Saint-Paul

David Apatoff said...

Thanks, Tina, for a valuable and interesting contribution. I would love to hear more about your grandfather if you ever feel like sharing. You can reach me at

Anonymous said...

I am trying to find a print or poster the the "March of Progress" I would appreciate any suggestions, I have search the internet & ebay but I can't find a copy for sale.