Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pictured above, Margaret Brundage's first cover for Weird Tales, the original of which sold for over $50,000 at a 2008 auction. The most recent issue of the newest incarnation of Weird Tales ran an overview of her work in its pages by Paula Guran and included some interesting, even sad morsels of information. Despite the fact that an original painting would go for such a high figure in 2008, Brundage spent the the years leading up to her death in 1976 living in near-poverty and even had some of her work stolen at science fiction conventions. Guran cites John Clute and Peter Nicholls as describing Brundage as "the first woman artist to work in the sf/fantasy field, and the first of their sex whose covers featured nudes."
Following "The Alter of Melek Taos," her work became even more . . . well, interesting, as Brundage continued to explore subversive expressions of sexuality, with suggestions of bondage and s & m that apparently divided the magazine's readership. In Guran's article appears a quotation by Robert Weinberg: "When readers complained about nudity on the cover, [editor] Farnsworth Wright had Brundage do cover without nudes. Complaints flowed into the magazine office, and within a month, the nudes were back." We tomb dwellers situate ourselves firmly in the latter camp.