Arts Magazine, April 1970

Greta Garbo, and Monroe. Deitrich and DiMaggio. Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean. On the cover of a magazine… Ahum, no. This blog will not do a one-eighty and focus on Madonnas’s lyrics. But as i’ve mentioned i, and the blog, will now try and turn the focus to magazines. I fully understand that this will not be an easy thing to do but as i’ve already said many times before i didn’t think the dust jackets would be easy either, and that turned out pretty good so i guess we’ll see that happens. Anyways, let’s get down to it! I figured since i’ve been away for so long i better come out with guns blazing, so it’s time for the big ol’ drumroll once again.. Coolness was promised, and coolness you shall have! And what can be cooler than something previsouly “unknown”? And by that i mean something that noone in my close little circle of Warhol-collecting-people had ever seen before. I’m sure a couple of collectors who don’t see the point in blogging about their finds have this on a shelf somewhere. Anyways, as it turns out it might not be entirely as unknown as i initially thought, but more on that later. It’s also NOT in Paul Maréchal’s excellent book Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Magazine Work. That’s right, i called it excellent. This really is a FANTASTIC book and source of information, basically a must have for anyone interested in this area or whatever of Warhol’s work. I can’t say that i’ve read it cover to cover (yet) but a good thing is that unlike the case with the dust jackets where i had to try and find and put together bits of information here and there and, without sounding too pomposterous, try and write my own book i’ll now have the help of someone else who have already done all the legwork. It’s not all good though as i quite enjoyed playing detective but who knows, maybe i’ll still be able to dig up something of my own…

Hmmm… it really has been a long time since i last did this. I’ve been staring at the screen now for 30-something minutes trying to come up with something to write. Previously i think i’ve had a pretty good idea about where to go and what to try and get down and followed some kind of a map to get there, guess i’m a bit rusty… I think i usually start with WHAT it is but why not start with the WHERE this time. As with my previous “new discovery” – The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry which Guy Minnebach tipped me of about i can’t take any credit for finding this thing either. That part should instead go to Aaron Cohen who runs the excellent webshop/site kind of thing Projectobject. If i remember correctlt he got this from ebay which is quite amazing, i don’t think i’ve ever found anything like this on there that passed totally under the radar. I think this was also the case with the previously mentioned book that Guy found, very surprising… I’ve come to know Aaron a little bit since i seem to always end up at his site sooner or later during my Google-image-searching-extravaganzas… Anyways, he pretty much always has some really cool Warhol related stuff like book/dust jackets and magazines for sale and you can check out some of it here, personally i’ve always thought the Art Cash is cool and the Man on the Moon playbill looks really great. But i’m all about magazines nowadays so, those will have to wait… Anyways, this whole thing started out back in August when Aaron emailed me and asked if i had seen the latest sale of a yellow MTV on ebay and then he kind of casually mentioned something like “oh, and check out these magazines that i found…” and attached were images of the Stern Magazine/John Lennon cover that i had seen before but there was also another one that i hadn’t seen. I wasn’t entirely sure though, as i mentioned i haven’t read Maréchal’s book like some people read the bible so i figured maybe it was still in there somewhere, but i have also gotten a list of magazine covers from Guy Minnebach and i was at least certain that this one was not on that list. But one never knows with these things, i guess hypothetically it could be a known cover and even though Warhol is clearly credited on the cover there could still be some reason for it not to be considered a Warhol after all. Whatever the case i didn’t want to waste any time trying to figure that out so when Aaron said he still had it available for sale and when i saw that he had put it on his site i of course panicked as usual and felt i had to jump on it and so i told him i would gladly buy it. I think i ended up paying $100-115 or something like that which i think was a great and very generous deal. We’ve wheeled and dealed and traded a few times before this and it’s always a pleasure. So again, thanks so much for this Aaron!

That about sums up the “where” and leads us down the natural path of the “what”… So, what is this thing. And… well, besides the obvious that it’s a magazine it’s more specifically a copy of a magazine called Arts Magazine from April of 1970. I’ve not been able to find a great deal of information about the magazine itself but there is a Wikipedia page and it seems it was published under various namnes – The Art Digest, Arts and finally Arts Magazine, from 1926 up until 1992. I haven’t made an effort to try and find out when the name changes were done because, well… it really doesn’t matter. On the cover is a collage with a polaroid photo of Gregory Battcock with the black jacket still attached together with some scribblings that i can’t really make out… The best i can do is “Gregory Battcock with something something”… is the last word “bucky”? If so then i have no idea what that means… I guess it’s not all that important anyway. I can’t say i’ve been able to find anything else really useful when it comes to cover design, but there is some information on the title page. There’s an image of it below but i’ll still do a little copy/pasting just for the hell of it.

On the cover: Travel Piece (1970) by Andy Warhol for Arts Magazine. This original work of art includes the three collages appearing on pages 23-25 of this issue. Characteristic of the artist, this piece-made up of photographs taken during Gregory Battcock’s and David Bourdon’s commissioned trip to Paris – reflects the banality of the “family album,” while commenting ironically on space as a factor in art. A major Andy Warhol retrospective will be on view at the Pasadena Art Museum, May 11 – June 21. (Cover coll. Ileana Sonnabend).

Actually pretty informative… And naturally this posted the question of, at least to me it did, who the hell are these people. Gregory Battcock? David Bourdon? Ileana Sonnabend? I have never heard of any of them. I now realize that i probably should have at least recognized the name David Bourdon since he is the author of the, from what i understand, highly renowned biography book Warhol. Perhaps a bit embarrassing i guess… but to rectify this i’ve made a mental note that i need to get that book, get and also read. But let’s start with Gregory Battcock (got to love that name), i have no intention to turn this into a huge biography so i’ll try and keep it short and sweet and stick to what’s relevant here. From what i understand he was basically an artist, art historian, art critic and a prominent figure of the New York art scene in the 60’s and 70’s. And i guess anyone who ticks all of those boxes around that time would end up crossing paths with Andy Warhol sooner or later. I guess they eventually became good friends and Battcock ended up starred in three of Warhol’s films – Batman Dracula, Horse and Eating Too Fast. I’ve also picked up that he became a special correspondent for Arts Magazine in 1967 and from there he would eventually go on to serve as editor of the same magazine in 1973. Sadly he ended up being brutally murdered on christmas eve in 1980 in his appartment in Puerto Rico and from what i can tell the murder remains unsolved. For those wanting to know more about this guy i can recommend this site which is the one where i stole most of this “knowledge” from. Some other guy namned Joseph Grigely apparently found the collected estate of Gregory Battcock abandoned in a warehouse in 1992 and there has been exhibitions of this stuff as late as the previous summer. There is also some information on Waholstars here and here. There was also a book titled Oceans of Love: The Uncontainable Gregory Battcock published back in August so it seems he’s all the rage at the moment… That’s enough about him, maybe “he was friends with Warhol” would have done just fine…

On to David Bourdon and from what i can tell the story is pretty much the same… for some reason there is only a german Wikipedia page but thanks to Google translate i can tell you that he was a journalist, art critic and author who, like Battcock was a prominent person in the art scene of the 60-70’s and therefore of course also became close with Warhol. I think he also had some kind of role in Batman Dracula, i haven’t seen the film myself but i’m guessing it was a smaller kind of role. There is a pretty good biography thing here but i’ll sum it up like this, the guy wrote and worked for a lot of magazines – Village Voice, Life, Smithsonian Magazine, Vogue, GEO and Art in America. He was also president of the US branch or whatever they call it of The International Association of Art Critics. Seems he was also involved in some capacity in some Factory projects, for example the 1963 series of Elvis Presley silk screens. It feels like i’m just trowing out irrelevant links left and right but i found this interview with Bourdon pretty intersting. So yeah… again this all boils down to that he was friends with Andy Warhol.

Last but not least, Ileana Sonnabend… She actually has a Wikipedia page so that makes things a little bit easier. She is also perhaps the least important in this mess of a soup so i’ll not dive in too deep but i have to go from her and end up at Warhol one way or another so let’s see… For a number of years she was married to a guy whose name i actually recognized, and that guy was Leo Castelli. Even though i knew the name i can’t say i knew much more, but basically he was a big shot art dealer whose gallery showcased the work of people like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and of course also Andy Warhol. I’m guessing he and Warhol ended up as close friends and in, if i’m not mistaken, 1965 Warhol made a silkscreen of him in his jacket and tie. Oh well, that’s enough about him, Back to Ileana… in 1962 she opened her own gallery called The Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and from what i can tell this was a pretty bid deal and instrumental in making American art of the 1960s known in Europe. I’ve also read that Sonnabend was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Warhol and presented three important exhibitions of his work at her gallery in Paris – Death and Disasters (1964), Flowers (1965), and Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1967). I’m pretty sure that is was during this show in Paris in 1965 where Warhol made the famous announcement that he was retiring from painting to focus on filmmaking. Also not important here, sorry… Once again we end up with the conclusion that yeah, Sonnabend was good friends with Warhol. And thus the circle is complete. These three people that i had never heard of knew Andy Warhol. How very fantastic, exciting and wonderful all at once!

Soooooooo… maybe i should have just stayed with what is written on the title page. In short, Warhol sent Gregory Battcock and David Bourdon to Paris to snap some photographs. But what i’ve been trying to get to with all this are the four words at the end there – “(Cover coll. Ileana Sonnabend).” What does this mean? Is Sonnabend credited with the collage but then Warhol is still given credit for the actual cover, is that a common thing? Or is the cover supposed to be seen as a part of the “original work of art titled Travel Piece” that is the three page collage IN the actual magazine, and therefore credited to Andy Warhol? I have no idea. Like i said i don’t really know how these things work but i find it somewhat, well…unclear. Whatever the case and i won’t dwell on that anymore, this is a magazine with a cover that is clearly credited to Andy Warhol on the actual cover and it’s NOT in Maréchal’s book, whoohoooo! Pretty freaking cool!

However, as i mentioned at the beginning it might not be as unknown as i thought. I’ve been “researching” the cover here and there for a couple of weeks and the only thing i could dig up was this old archived story from the magazine Artforum International. I’m not sure when this article was published but my guess is that it was done so in the September 2012 issue, and that guess is based on another one of these archive sites, more specifically this one. You can’t read the full article without a subscription but luckily the interesting part is right at the top…

“IN APRIL 1970, Gregory Battcock appeared in his underwear on the cover of Arts Magazine, the publication he would briefly lead as editor some three years later. Like “Andy Warhol’s Travel Piece,” the three-page spread it announces, the cover’s design, credited to Warhol, looks unfinished. Battcock is pictured in a Polaroid photo, its black jacket still attached, which has fallen at an informal angle on the gridded layout form used for the magazine’s pasteup. In the midst of this arch disarray, the critic–a notoriously handsome, sexually voracious bon vivant who was particularly fond of travel (on ocean liners if possible)–perfectly occupies the position of gay icon. He wears white briefs and a sleeveless T-shirt and is seated with his legs splayed, sexy mustache dominating what’s visible of his backlit face (cut off, in the photograph, just above his eyes). Here we have the writer as malleable object, sponsored by Warhol to travel to Paris with fellow critic and intimate David Bourdon for the express purpose of producing a project for the magazine (though without any explicit agenda for their stay).”

So i guess the avid reader of Artforum International would have been given the heads up about the covers existence a couple of years ago. Too bad i don’t read any art magazines, maybe i should start….

If perhaps not shocking it was at least a little surprising to find that article and i’m always happy when i find stuff like that. If nothing else if gives me a couple of lines of text to fill out an otherwise boring post with… So far all was well and good. But then last night i was flipping through the actual magazine to see if there was some other intersting mentions of something in it. I didn’t find anything like that but for some reason i had missed that the title page called the work “Travel Piece” so i then i did a quick google search for that and something else and what Google threw back at me was at least more shocking than surprising this time. Turns out a copy of this magazine was up for auction just a couple of weeks ago! That one is a lot cooler than mine though since it’s also signed… and one of the previous owners, Börje Bengtsson, who coincidentally is Swedish and apparently runs a gallery in Landskrona claims it’s the only signed copy he has ever seen. I have no idea who this guy is either but if one is to believe the information in the listing he is “a leading world-wide dealer in Warhol material for over 30 years”… maybe i should contact him and see if he has some other magazines for sale. It also states the obvious that “Edition unknown, few survive”, and i guess one can’t argue with that. Even though i’m new to the whole magazine-scene i’m still surprised that you see them on ebay now and then. I’ve tried to get information from the publishers of the books regarding the sizes of print runs but so far not a single company has been able to provide this. And considering how rare many of the books are i would imagine that ever fewer of the magazines survived… So it will be steep hill to clilmb for sure.

There it is. My first post about a magazine and the beginning of a new quest. And finally i get to remove that “coming soon” thing from the magazine menu and actually put something there… I have high hopes for a fun ride and i’ve already picked up six or seven of them i believe so there’s more stuff coming up!

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I’m still here!

Hard to believe it’s been six months to the day since my last post, but apparently that’s how it is. To those who missed me i can ease your worry and say that the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated… I’m still in this crazy game, and not only that but it’s with more enthusiasm than i’ve had in a while. I’ve also started working again after four months of paternity leave and that means i’ll finally have more time to blog!

What else… the summer has not really been all filled up with fun and games but instead quite the opposite. Our house was broken into, i’ve survived a complete renovation of our basement after which i now have a full understanding of people who say that these kinds of things have a tendency to end up in divorce. Luckily i’m not married, but there were more than a few occasions were i contemplated killing “the wife” and having her buried deep down somewhere under the new floor… Oh well, that’s another story and all is well that ends well i guess. And even though the burglar went though pretty much everything and left us with a really f:ed up mess he payed little attention to my Warhol books, and if you ask me that’s of course the most valuable thing in the house. I guess it’s a good thing the average crook don’t keep track of Warhol’s dust jackets…

I’ve got some pretty exciting (at least i think so) things coming up but it will have to wait until next week. I guess it’s no surprise that the focus is now on magazines and i’ve already made some pretty nice catches including one that’s REALLY cool! I’ve also been scammed for the first time on ebay, even though i got refunded it was still quite annoying. I’m also still on the case of completing a double set of the dust jackets and i’ve picked up a couple of more pieces to complete that puzzle. Record covers are a whole other story and to say that i’m not interested in those anymore would perhaps not be entirely accurate but… that’s almost how it is. As i’ve said many times before i’m at a point where most of the ones i’m missing are in the +$1000 category and that’s not going to happen, if i’m going to spend that i’d rather do so on magazines and books. Speaking of thousands of dollars, i was shocked and amazed to see a yellow MTV sell for that amount a couple of weeks, months or whatever it was ago. The last idiot definitely hasn’t been born yet.

That is all. As promised coolness will follow in the weeks to come, so stay tuned!

 

 

Background noise

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since my last post. Time really flies when you are… well, NOT having fun. I won’t dwell on it anymore than i already have but i really got the wind knocked out of me right after i was finally able to put The Summer Dancers down on the shelf. I’m slowly recuperating though and what better way to do so than to dive head first into a new impossible project. Those with a really sharp eagle eye, and who are reading this on a regular good old fashioned computer, might notice a new menu or whatever on top.

That’s right. Magazines.

Crazy rare, expensive and in all likelihood even harder to find than many of the books. We’re talking about those kinds of magazines. This is what i’ve decided to spend my time on from now on, sounds and feels crazy… But that’s also how i felt when i started with the books and that turned out OK in the end so who knows. More than anything i desperately need something to fill this stupid void that i created for myself with, and magazines felt like the natural step. So… game on, bitch!

Even though i’ve spent a little less time than usual on Amazon and ebay i haven’t completely disconnected. I can’t remember the order of things but i have gotten, at least by my standards, quite a bit of stuff. I’ve yet to get my hands on most of it though. But anyways, i’ve gotten one of the newer book cover thingys from the 80’s – Tennessee Williams: Collected Stories. There are a couple of books like this using Warhols portraits of people on the cover and to be honest i haven’t been paying much attention to them until recently. There might one or two or whatever that will prove a little tricky to track down but in general i would say that all of these are a muuuuuuuuch easier catch than the ones from the 50’s and 60’s. Anyways, it got me going again and it’s always nice to tick a box regardless of the effort.

I also took another gamble on a copy of Pistols For Two that popped up on Amazon. I’ve been lucky on more than one occasion in the past and even though i knew that the image shown was a stock image kind of thing the discription at least mentioned “cover” and for less than $10 i had to give it a go. Turns out i wasn’t as lucky this time as the book didn’t come with a dust jacket, can’t win them all and no tears shed over that.

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Another thing that got me a little excited a while back was a copy of The Summer Dancers on Amazon that, if memory serves me right, was listed for something like $65. Once again the discription didn’t mention “dust jacket” and as i always do i wasted time asking for images. I never got a reply and later that same day the book was sold. Bit of a bummer but if it did in fact come with the jacket then a big congratulations to whoever snacthed it from me! And while on the topic of this book. It’s funny how something can be totally impossble to find and not show up anywhere for a loooooong period of time than to just all of a sudden be all over the place. Not long after i got my copy another was listed on ebay in what looked to be in great shape, after that i’ve seen yet another on ebay and also one on Amazon. These might be same ones though, but whatever the case it’s funny to see it so easily accessible. They have all been listed for +$400-500 though so maybe “easily accessible” isn’t the correct term.

What else is new… well, i’ve gotten yet another yellow MTV cover. This one is also sealed and was part of a set kind of thing of two MTV records, no idea what the other one is all about but at less than $40 for the pair it was a no brainer. But enough is enough, i don’t want any more of these now. I might actually go ahead and lose my seller virginity and try and unload two of these and get some funds to put in the magazine account. We’ll se what happens… I’ve also added a couple of doubles to my book collection, nothing spectacular but two copies of The Saint in Europe for less than $25 each i still think are two pretty good deals. I can’t say i was looking to upgrade my current copy and this particular book is probably one of the easiest to find but i’m so mentally damaged after this whole thing that i just can’t resist a bargain.

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That’s that when it comes to books and record covers. And that leaves us with the magazines. All of a sudden i’m short on time here at work so have to cut to the chase. I got Maréchals book about a month ago and it’s absolutely fantastic, i almost can’t believe it’s by the same Maréchal who did the record covers book. But more on that later, great read, great book and of course a great source of information. I believe most/all of the magazines are in a list i got from Guy Minnebach way back when, but it’s not easy to find images of a lot of the magazines so up until recently i didn’t know what to look for. Now i really need to speed up here… long story short. I’ve embarked on the second trade of my collecting career and parted with one of my spare books and in return i will get two magazines. More on this when i get a hold of the magazines and when i have more time but from my point of view this was a great and very generous trade worked out with Aaron who has the very cool site/shop Projectobject. The same Aaron also tipped me off to another magaine on ebay a while ago, this one is not particularly rare but it was sealed and cheap so… a win/win situation. Thank you! I haven’t worked out a plan or whatever in my head on how i will go about this, but i’m pretty sure i’ll try and focus on the older magazines from the 50’s which would put the total number of magazines i need to find at twelve if i’m not mistaken. I took another baby step on this journey earlier in the week when i had the unexpected fortune of winning this auction. I realize it’s not in the best condition but still, about a year ago this magazine sold for $420, granted that one looks to be in much better shape, but still… i was very surprised! Good times all around. And i guess that leaves me at 3/12 of the way there…

Time’s up. Sorry for any spelling mistakes but i don’t have time to read it all through. Anyways… perhaps it’s stupid to start yet another collection that will most likely never be complete but i’m really, REALLY looking forward to trying and find out how far i can take it.

Later!

Post completion depression?

I’m not sure there even is such a thing… Whatever the case i am however sure that i’ve come down with something like it. It seems that finally finding that last book was both a blessing and a curse. I’m also seriously depressed and stressed out by what’s going on in my country and i’ve started to try and tune out from it as much as possible and just not think about what’s going on. I guess that the combination of these two things has lead to my lack of posting and well, interest in just about anything lately… Oh well, i have no intention to turn this into a blog about politics so let’s back to what it’s supposed to be about! I’ve never, in lack of a better word, “seriously” collected anything before i started this thing. Naturally this means that i’ve also never completed a collection of anything so i was of course unaware of what happens to you when you do. And i can’t say that i enjoy the feeling that comes with it…

I’m sure it sounds both dorky and nerdy but i had such a good time and so much fun chasing after these books and everything that came with it and now all of a sudden there’s no point in doing it anymore. Sure, i can start trying to find duplicates of pretty much every single book. But it will never be the same thing, i’ll never feel that same (again, dorky and nerdy) rush of excitement when seeing something new on a list somewhere. At least it doesn’t feel like i will. Hmmm… this sounds way more depressing than it really is, hopefully all of this is just a temporary slump. I’m pretty sure that’s the case, at least i’ve come to the realization that i enjoy collecting things. Now i just need to find the new “thing” that will fill the void. The natural step would of course be to again put more focus on the records, and i’ve tried to force myself to do so in the last coupel of months. But of course it’s not something you can just “do”, there has to be something out there that’s both available and affordable. I’ve had a pretty good idea of which covers i still need to find but last weekend i actually sat down and made a list. Turns out i had forgotten about a couple… I’ve said it a million times before but i know that i will never complete this collection, and such an insight is hardly motivating. Maybe i need to try and break it down a little and put a realistic goal of trying to find one every year or so. Here are the ones i still need to get a hold of:

The Nation’s Nightmare
Madrigal’s Magic Key To Spanish, Record 1 & Record 2
Thelonius Monk – Monk
Jan Smeterlin – Chopin Nocturnes Vol 1 & Vol 2
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – 4 Divertimenti
Cool Gabriels
J.J. Johnson / Kai Winding / Benny Green – Trombone By Three
Waltzes By Johan Strauss Jr.
Kenny Burrell – S/T
Johnny Griffin ‎– The Congregation
Moondog – The Story of Moondog
Kenny Burrell – Blue Lights Vol 1 & Vol 2
The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Aretha Franklin – Aretha
Lew White – Melodic Magic
Vladimir Horowitz – Piano Music of Mendelssohn and Liszt
Ultra Violet

…that’s a lot of records. Not to mention a lot of rare and expensive ones too. And quite possibly i’ve still forgotten about one or two… And it also doesn’t include the latest newly discovered cover that was on ebay recently. If you flip it all 180° it also means that i don’t really have more than a couple of the really rare ones. Basically just the Ratfab, the Boston Pops and the Walter Steding, and that last one i didn’t really find myself but was instead part of a far to generous trade with Guy Minnebach. I have reissues of a couple of these and one or two others would be an easy pick up, but yeah… Not that it’s all about finding or having ALL of the holy grails for me but in order to keep the steam up you occassionally need to find that special something. And when it comes down to it this is a difficult list to work with in 2016. Another thing i’ve mentioned a million times is the possibility to find the books at bargain prices and how much that added to the fun of it all. That’s something that’s just not possible when it comes to the records, at least not these records. But i guess there is nothing else to do than to stick with it, soones it later i might be able to find something somewhere. I’ve actually gotten a very generous offer from Guy Minnebach to buy a copy of the Nocturnes cover that he got pretty cheap a while ago. An offer i have of course gladly accepted, just need to get my act together and book a trip to Budapest this coming spring/summer and go pick it up.

Apart from the obvious record covers i’ve also been thinking about cassettes and more specifically little cool variations of them. I was quite intruiged by the post Guy made on this subject a while ago and it got me interested. I have no idea how many of these there might be though, i’m thinking there’s not THAT many and that trying to find out would probably involve some tedious and unrewarding work. But, maybe… why not? That leads us into magazines… If you disregard the fact that they appear to be crazy hard to find and in many instances pretty damn expensive i’m still inexplicably drawn to them. If, and it’s a big if, this would be my next quest i’ll probably limit this to magazine covers from the 50’s which would mean there are 12-13 or so to be found… The reason for this would simply be that these are the only ones i’ve ever seen listed online. Guess i would also have to start by getting Maréchals book on the subject, which i’m told is pretty good. Unlike with the books i’ve not been able to find some magical search thingy for old and rare magazines, so i guess that pretty much narrows it down to being forced to used ebay…

This turned into a way more negative post that i had intended. But i guess that’s how it is, you have your ups and downs with this thing just as with everything else. And as said i think it’s just temporary. I actually have something positive to end it all with. Even though i’m not as obsessed as i was a couple of months ago i still check Amazon and ebay every morning, guess it’s now too deeply rooted in my system to ever be able to stop doing. Anyways… once again the cover that i love to hate was on there and for a BIN of $40 i couldn’t resist. I find it interesting that it’s sealed seeing as though i thought these yellow ones were promo copies. But maybe they sealed those as well, i have no idea… Maybe it would be a better strategy to stop buying things i already have in order to make room in the budget for things i don’t yet have, hmmm…

All is well that ends well.

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A look back at 2015

I guess it’s about time for the summary kind of thing of the previous year. I quite enjoy writing these yearly posts and looking back and remembering what went down, so i don’t know why it’s so long overdue this year. Better late than never…

I usually start these posts with reading the one from the previous year, and much like the summary of 2014 this one will also mostly be about books. I’m not sure why and when i started to focus more on the books than the records but it’s must have had something to do with the fact that before i knew it i actually had something that was almost a complete collection. And by then it was of course difficult to not try and see it through to the end. I did manage to pick up a couple of record covers though, not a whole lot and nothing really spectacular but more than i remembered at first.  So why not start with those… The keen observer will notice two, or at least one and a half covers that i have yet to post about. And one of those two is probably the one i’m the most excited about, and more precisely that would be the Love You Live picture sleeve EP kind of thing. I’ve always liked this one for some reason, and even though it’s perhaps not a super rare record i’ve seen less and less of them lately so i was happy to finally get a hold of one. But more on that when i get around to posting it… The other one (or at least half one) that i’ve yet to post is a long awaited upgrade of another of my favourite covers and it’s the one for Both Feet in the Groove. The previous copy i had was, extremely generously, given to me free of charge by fellow collector Kevin Kinney. Thanks again Kevin! I’ve always wanted a fairly clean and nice copy of this though, but as with The Rolling Stones promo they have been a somewhat rare sight lately. At least when it comes to copies that aren’t ridiculously priced.

What else… well, i guess i found the whole thing about the Concert Gems record cover pretty interesting. Granted i will most never know who actually made the drawings of the instruments, but at least i had some fun with Jack Wolfgang Beck and trying to put some of the pieces together. And when all was said i done i actually think i did a decent job of introducing reasonable doubt, but the other way around or whatever… And while on the topic of skepticism that leads us to the next cover. And that’s the one for Violin Concerto, maybe i should be more excited about this one and i know, i know… it’s in Maréchals book now any everything. But i don’t know… i have yet to see something that convinces me that this is by Warhol. But on the other hand i can’t present anything that makes it clear that it is NOT by Warhol, so yeah… Who knows, i’ll borrow the title from one of the best debut albums of all time to sum up my thoughts. And by that i mean that i would put this down as a “Definitely Maybe”. Luckily i got it cheap…

I guess i also have to mention another semi-upgrade of sorts and that’s the cover to Kenny Burrell’s Blue Lights Vol. 1. Without question this is one of the best looking covers and seeing as i previously only had the terrible reissue from the DOXY boxes it was nice to be able to take a small step up the ladder and get one of the stereo reissues. Seeing as MONO might as well be spelled MON(EY)O this will have to do for a long time, most likely forever. Or… maybe i should sell the last cover on this 2015 list, considering that some people are apparently more than crazy in the head this might get me halfway there. And this cover is of course the yellow version of MTV’s High Priority. I’m pretty convinced that these yellow ones are in fact promo copies and even though i had no plans on selling the first copy i had i’ll still gladly admit that in retrospect i felt like an idiot for giving it away. And even though i’m not incredibly excited about finding a second copy it did ease my mind of whatever a little bit, and maybe this should in fact be considered the best find of the year when it comes to the record covers. But in a way i think that says more about what a poor record-cover-year it was rather than how fantastic this particular cover is. Buuuuut, seeing as the dust jacket collection is now as complete as it probably ever will be i guess the good news is that i can now return to putting more focus on the records.

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Moving on to books. And when it comes to these it would really be an understatement to say it was an action packed year. I don’t really care for action movies but i guess it would compare to Spectre, Mad Max, Star Wars and San Andreas all mixed together. Or something like that. It’s not easy to single out one or two of all these are mark it as THE ONE. Individually there were all great finds and on a larger scale it was of course absolutely FANTASTIC to actually get to complete a collection that i thought would be forever doomed to be incomplete. I’ll get to this more in detail in a later post… Anyways, there’s nothing wrong with a boring list and thus the jacket finds of 2015 were as follows:

The Adventures of Maud Noakes (New Directions Edition)
Forbidden Childhood
The Immortal (Pocket, Corgi Edition)
The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry
Lolita
The Butterfly Tree
The Summer Dancers

As said it’s difficult to name just one of these, but i guess i have to try… And perhaps suprisingly it’s not one of the best looking and/or most rare ones like The Butterfly Tree or The Summer Dancers. Instead i think it would actually have to be The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry and the reason for this is that i spent such an incredible amount of time trying to track this down and of course also the fact that it was previously unknown. At least unknown in the sense that there were no information or mention of this book anywhere whatsoever online. And even though i would credit Guy Minnebach with the book’s discovery, or at least being the one who brought it to my attention it was a pretty cool feeling to be the one to break the news… To a small crowd of course, but still… And that i was able to find not only one but two copies of this was quite amazing. Honaroble mentions would be Lolita and Forbidden Childhood. The first because it was also a “new” find of sorts, perhaps not a Warhol cover in the true sense of the word or whatever but pretty cool nonetheless. And the latter not because it’s such a great jacket but more because i was able to get it for such a great price. Naturally it was almost unbelievable to be able to find all of the others as well and to ring in the new year with a complete collection, but yeah… they can’t all be at number one now can they? And when it comes to The Butterfly Tree and The Summer Dancers i was fairly certain that if i should be able to keep this thing going for long enough they would eventually turn up somewhere. And as things played out that’s exactly what they did. I also payed more for both of these than i ever intended on paying for any of the books, regardless of how great looking and rare they are i guess this also adds to them not getting the top spot. Going through some old posts i now realize that i forgot about the Moderna Museet exhibition catalogue, i guess that should have been added to the book section of this little walkthrough thing in the image below… When it comes down to it 2015 was the year for books, and as said it really was a fantastic and thrilling year!

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Last, but certainly not least we have what is not only the best find of the previous year but perhaps also of my entire “collector-career” up to this point. And this thing is of course what i’ve come to dub as the Giant Size $1,57 Each cassette and booklet. I won’t go on and on once again how rewarding it is to see something you’ve “worked” hard on come to fruition but to finaaaaaally see this thing happen and to get my hands on it was almost mindblowing. In a way i still can’t believe it… Without a doubt the highlight of the year and something that will be hard to knock of the top spot in the future. But there is of course that little book with drawings of children of the cover… I think that pretty much sums it all up. A pretty poor year when it comes to record covers but more than enough dust jackets to make up for this and to make it an awsome year when you put it all together. And of course that little booklet and cassette to top it all off.

There were some other cool, general Warholian events as well. The most obvious was of course the opening of the Warhol by the Book exhibition. As i understand it the show is now also travelling and will open at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum in just a few days on February 5. Sadly i won’t be able to go see it this time around either, i don’t know how these things work but i’m keeping my fingers crossed it will hit Europe at some point, though i guess chances are slim. While on the topic of exhibitions it’s also great to see that Frank Edwards fantastic collection is also travelling and is now on display at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida. And finally it was also great to see that 2015 saw the beginning of Guy Minnebach’s blog – Andy Earhole, although it’s been slow lately *cough* *cough* this will without a doubt continue to grow into an essential source of information.

Last year i ended by saying “With hopes of an equally fun and exciting 2015!” and i guess i have to do the same this time around. I’m not concerned about the fun aspect but i’m not really sure about the exciting part. Seeing as i’m still not a millionaire – how the hell am i supposed to get a hold of something exciting now!? I guess i’ll figure something out… after all, i didn’t think that the dust jackets would be possible on a budget, maybe the magazines are too?

Lets try and find out!

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The Summer Dancers – Clyde Miller (Macmillan, 1961)

There are many kinds of endings. There’s the good or the bad. The happy or the sad, and of course also any combination of the above. There are endings that leave you satisfied and there’s the ones that leave you frustrated and angry. The ending to Lost is a good example of the latter, i still can’t believe i wasted six years on that show and countless hours on nerdy forums and i still get mad when thinking about it today… But that’s not really relevant here. The point is that eventually everything will come to an end. And how to best write the ending for the story here? Sounds a bit over dramatic… it’s not like it’s the end of the blog, but in a way it is the end of a long and exciting journey. But maybe i should save the thoughts on that for a later post and just get to the point.

When trying to read up on these books and things i will sometimes start planning out the basics for a future post in my head even though i haven’t found the actual item yet. I’m starting to get sick of writing that i thought i would never get to make this or that post, so i can imagine that it must be equally boring to read about it… But here it comes it again. And this time it’s true. I had basically come to terms with never getting a hold of this book and that i would forever be stuck with having that one small, but still HUGE, hole in my collection. Without question this is one of the absolutely most rare dust jackets and i figured that with the ongoing exhibition and more and more people finding them interesting that even if one did show up somewhere it would either be ridiculously priced or show up on ebay where there is always that someone who has a little more money than you do. So yeah… all this considered i didn’t really start making plans for this post ahead of time.

I really, REALLY wish there was some spectacular and thrilling story behind all this as it would make for a much better post and endning. But sadly there is nothing like that to be told. There could have been though. The few but avid readers might remember this post from late last year where i wrote about an old article in something called The Flyleaf that i happened to stumble upon and that had a very familiar cover. The magazine/monthly leaflet or whatever was put together by something called Friends of the Fondren Library and through them i was actually able to contact the guy who had written the article. He was now retired and had developed other collecting-interests than Warhol and his dust jackets. If i remember correct he had found about seven or eight of them, and he had done so without any help from the internet so i must admit it’s a pretty impressing achievement. Anyways… for some reason i initially didn’t think about asking him if he would ever consider selling his copy of the book. At the time i was also looking for a number of other jackets than just this one and i thought it was great enough to actually find a guy who had it, and that if i would ever be in the situation where this was the only hole to fill i would start pestering him then. And of couse that time came. And i don’t really know how to define “pester” but i did send him more than a couple of emails. My final offer or whatever was of course money together with my spare copies of The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry and the Corgi edition of The Immortal. Oddly enough i never heard back. I don’t feel i was overly pushy in any way and he seemed genuinely interested in talking about these old books and to someone who now shared one of his old interests and who dug up his old article, so yeah… i don’t really know what happened. And it doesn’t really matter, but it would have been a somewhat better story than what actually went down.

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Another thing that would have made for a better story or ending would have been if my crazy quest to contact hundreds of book sellers would have been successful. The final number ended up being more than eight hundred. And even though a surprisingly high number of these replied none of them responded with anything but no’s, sorry’s and unfortunately’s. The only thing i learned from this is that it was highly demotivating and i don’t intend to ever embark on such an endeavour ever again.

So… let’s get to the actual ending however non exciting it may be. If nothing else it made me feel a little bit like Nostradamus. A little over two months ago i wrote this post before i started with all the emails which ended with “most likely what will happen is that i’ll send out +500 emails and shortly after that the book will just appear in my wish list”. And even though i was way off when it comes to the number of emails this is basically exactly what happened. Sometime at the end of september it was just there… not on Amazon but on ebay of all places. As i’ve also ranted about in the past i was so sick of seeing nothing but my little ponies all over the place but this time there was actually a blue little dot thing next to the saved search for “summer dancers miller”. Before this i had also noticed that copies of Pistols for Two and The Butterfly Tree were also on ebay all of a sudden so even before i checked out this new mystery listing i had a feeling it would in fact be for the book this time. And it was! It may sound dorky but i almost couldn’t believe my eyes. I don’t really have anything to compare this feeling to… never before have i tried so hard to find something and to just see it available somewhere was pretty amazing. I have an old friend who for some reason is into bird-watching and once upon a time we were set to watch a fotboll match at a pub somewhere after work and i was sitting there waiting, waiting and waiting… eventually he calls and says that he has to cancel because there had been a sighting of a rare bird of some kind way up north. Way. Up. North. Almost 800km or about 500 milers to be exact, so he decides to call in sick the next day and drive all through the night just to maybe, MAYBE be able to see this bird… This was many years ago now and although i didn’t understand what the hell he was thinking or doing at the time i think i have a better sense of understanding now. But it’s not an easy feeling to explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

Anyways, any inital excitment i felt was, as always, quickly turned into anxiety. How the hell was i going to be able to win this auction, and what would it end up costing me… Considering that this was the first and only time i had ever seen this anywhere i decided early on that i would try and get it no matter what. Well, maybe not exactly no matter what but i would at least be prepared to bid more for this single book than what i had basically payed for all the others combined. I’m still not much of a great strategic when it comes to ebay but i think i did fairly good this time. I did however place an early bid but once i got trumped i actually decided to compose myself and wait until the end of the auction and not continue to help drive the price up early on. I remember that the auction ended on a thursday night, and even though it was far from in the middle of the night i remember i still set one or two alarm clocks which was a good thing since i fell asleap early. I ended up going to war with primarily one other guy, and he does not appear to be no Sun Tzu either. He hit the button more than 30 times raising only the minimum bid each time, and for each bid i think my heart rate went up by a couple of beats per minute so needless to say it was quite high at the end… As this was going on i was of course also terrified that the late, sniping rich guy would appear and spoil the day. And he did appear, but for once he didn’t spoil the day! Even though i ended up paying waaaaay more than i have done for any of the other twenty dust jackets, well… that’s excluding The Butterfly Tree of course, i’m still very happy with what i ended up paying and i think i got a fantastic deal in the end! I know i’ve said it hundreds of times but i really have been trying to put this all together on a pretty tight budget but what can you do… i guess the holes in your pockets gets bigger the smaller the same holes gets in your collection, if that makes any sense. Perhaps i was a little bit lucky the seller (who is a great and friendly guy from France) had a couple of other rare jackets listed and ending at the same time thus forcing buyers to chose between all these great books. Or perhaps it’s just me who has to beg and chose… Whatever the case i’m absolutely thrilled about the way this all played out.

Like a selfish douchebag i’ve also tried not to mention this book in any of the previous posts thinking this would increase my chances to keep it under the radar or whatver… I doubt this was called for though, this book is mentioned and shown in at least one of the articles on the dust jackets that i always mention and it should have been obvious which one i was stuck looking for in the end for someone willing to put in a little time and effort. I still haven’t forgotten about the previous little “sabotage attempt” though so maybe it wasn’t stupid to try and keep it on the down low after all. But seeing as it all ended up going down out in the open on ebay it didn’t really matter when push comes to shove.

So… what is this thing that i have been so childishly excited about? Well, if the title of the post didn’t give it all away this is of course the absolutely spectacular dust jacket for the book titled The Summer Dancers written by Clyde Miller and published by Macmillan in 1961. I say spectacular because there is really no other word. This is without question one the best looking jackets and as said it’s also one of the absolute rarest. I love this for more reasons than one but i particularly love how is uses the entire jacket – both front and back. Well, maybe the “entire” jacket is a bit of an exaggeration but even if it’s just by a little bit over the spine and on to the back cover i think it’s such a wonderful little detail. I also love how the remainder of the back cover has been left white and not been cluttered with short little excerpts from reviews or a synopsis kind of thing. The only other dust jacket to feature this kind of a back/front design is Borderline Ballads. One might argue that The Adventures of Maud Noakes also makes good use of the back cover in similar fashion and it does, but at the same time it’s also just the same stamped faces and not really the same kind of “continued” design as these two.

On to Clyde Miller… and as usual this will be short and sweet. Record breaking short to be exact – i’ve not been able to find ANYTHING at all about him. Again, the few but dedicated readers of this blog will have learned that the “Warhol dust jacket authors” were hardly Nobel Prize winning material but it’s still a bit unusual to not be able to find anything whatsoever… The small contribution i can make comes from the inside of the back flap where there is a little bit of a biography kind of thing and some short additional information:

“Clyde Miller was born in 1926 in Louisiana. His short novel The Gentle Season attracted favorable critical attention when it appeared a few years ago. He has taught at the University of Florida, has frequently traveled the lenght of the East Coast, and now lives and writes in New York City”.

Not much of use there. Being born in 1926 i guess he could actually still be alive, but this will NOT mean the beginning of a new stalking endeavour. And at least there is a lead to Florida… And that lead made me find a guy namned Gene Baro who apparently, among many other things i’m sure, organized over 150 art exhibitions, was a consulting curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum, senior editor of Art International magazine in Lugano (Switzerland) and a former director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. To top this all of he was also a member of the graduate faculty in the history of art at Williams College in Williamstown which coincidentally held the Warhol by the Book exhibition from March 7 to August 16. I’ve just copy/pasted all this from this site so who ever might be interested can find more information there. My main interest in this guy though is that apparently he was good friends with Clyde Miller, you can learn that by checking out this site which is another collection of these “Person X papers”. The same kind of thing that i found on Robert E. Bell, run a search for “Miller” and you’ll find quite a bit of correspondence between Clyde Miller and this Gene Baro. Among A TON of other things there are of couple of at least remotely interesting lines. For exampel:

Miller, Clyde. Letters to Gene Baro, 1960 – Neiswander, Rosemary. Typed transcript of a very unfavorable review [of Summer Dancers] Library Journal, December 1, 1960, with ANS “Clyde”.

TLS to Gene Baro. 1961 May 2 [New York] 2 p. Does not know what happened to Baro’s books, which were taken from Cross Creek house to the UF library. Comments about the condition of Baro, who apparently has been injured in an automobile accident. He is moving into Herschel’ apartment. Making final revisions to Summer Dancers [published 1961] He does not think it will be successful, but can do no more.

Miller, Clyde. The Summer Dancers. Uncorrected proofs. 1961.

I guess that last one is perhaps of little interest, but i find it somewhat funny and interesting that he appears to have not been fully satisfied with his work himself. To bad there is no mention of Warhol among all that stuff. Oh… one last thing. He actually did publish a couple of other things. I’m not sure these would be called “books” or whatever but for starters there is the title that is mentioned on the back flap – The Gentle Season. This is part of some kind of collection of novels and can be found cheap on Amazon or Abebooks, sadly it does not come with a previously unknown Warhol jacket. There are also some other published things here, but good luck trying to find images of these…

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OK, so that’s that about Clyde Miller and moving on to the actual cover design.To the best of my knowledge the drawing first appeared in the self published book In the Bottom of My Garden from 1956. I’m actually not sure how many drawings are in this book but if this site shows them all that would mean there are a total of 20 drawings. Now and then i think you’ll also see some of these sold individually at Christie’s and then i believe they are sometimes refered to as “plates”, i don’t really know what this means… But anyways, there was a veeeeeery cool auction for one of these just a couple of days ago that Guy Minnebach told me about featuring a very familar drawing… Sadly i couldn’t convince my better half to cut a couple of thousand dollars out of the house budget. Maybe something like this would better suit my budget, but that thing is of course a lot less cool. But after all, ’tis the season… But my of my, what i wouldn’t give to someday be able to get one of these orignal drawings related to one of the dust jackets. Someday…

I wasn’t sure where to squeeze this next thing in but i guess here is as good a place as any. I’ve also found an alternative cover at The national Galleries of Scotland website, this also features a drawing from the previously mentioned book In the Bottom of My Garden and although it looks great as well i think someone made the right call and went with the design that ended up on the actual jacket.

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Throw some kind of art history test on the desk in front of me and i would most definately hand it in with a terrible score. But i know a little bit about Andy Warhol, and from what i’ve learned these angels, fairies and/or cupids was a common theme early on in his career. When it comes to the dust jackets this is of course obvious on the cover for Three More Novels as well as on the alternative and somewhat finished cover for Borderline Ballads. I don’t know anything about two these other two guys though – Raphael and Marcantonio Raimondi. I had of couse heard the name Raphael but, perhaps embarrassing, i doubt i would be able to single out one of his paintings in a line up. And that other guy i had never heard about at all but apparently he is a key figure in the rise of the reproductive print in the early 1500’s… So why are these guys important here? Well, even though i’ve been unable to find to orignal design by Raphael i’ve found plenty of works that have words like “after” and “follower” attached to them. I don’t know how these things work but what i’m trying to get to is that it’s blatently obvious were Warhol got the inspiration for this drawing from. And that’s from a work titled (i think) “Dance of Cupids” by Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael. So yeah, to the best of my knowledge this “after” thing means the original was done my Raphael and then reproduced by Marcantonio Raimondi… There are quite a few of these with minor differences and you can get a high resolution image of the most obvious basis for the design here. As mentioned there are also others, like this one, credited to Follower of Marcantonio Raimondi, i guess this means pretty much the same thing…

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Phew, i guess that about sums it up… And to follow standard protocol i always wait until the end to say something about the condition. And in this case i think it’s absolutely fantastic! I would have settled for a copy of this book in any condition whatsoever, torn, taped, barely in one piece… it wouldn’t have mattered. So to be able to get a hold of one in as great shape as this is nothing but fantastic. There are some small tears and tiny smudges, but what the hell. Considering how rare and old these books are i’m surprised some made it through in one piece at all. Oh, this is also one of the books that give credit to Andrew Warhol, the other being Three More Novels if i remember correct. The last couple of days have been exciting times when it comes to these books and ebay with a lot of the rare ones being sold lately. The interest in this collection of mine from my better half has been non-existent but when i showed her what they were selling for and told what i had payed for most of them she all of a sudden became a little more interested and we sat down and looked at them all. And it’s pretty cool that a lot of the most hard to find ones are in really good shape. But i don’t understand that some people (at least one particular woman) need to see dollar signs on a screen before they raise an eyebrow and become interested in even having a look at all these great looking books….

In a way this is also the end. And it’s a good, happy and in a way sad ending all rolled together into one. Even though there are still a number of books with Warhol’s on the cover, all from the 80’s i believe, that i still need to find this post concludes what has been a two and half year something long journey towards completing what i intend to title my privately published book someday – Andy Warhol: The Dust Jackets, 1951-1963. I plan on doing some kind of summary of this whole thing later on so i’ll leave it at that for now. But it’s a pretty cool feeling to lay them all on the floor and see a complete collection. I also think it’s pretty great that this blog has now become a decent source of information on all these, at least it comes with images of them all. Of course there is also the great book Reading Andy Warhol, but if i remember correct that doesn’t feature The Strange Case of Lucile Cléry, so at least there is some extra spice here… And i of course haven’t given up on finding that previously unknown jacket so i’m sure i will find plenty of things to waste my time on during the coming year. I also plan on rewriting/revisiting some of my previous book posts, many of the early ones are embarrassingly short and really need to be done right. And then there is of course also the AIGA book… And magazines… And record covers… Maybe i should see this as a way to finally get to focus more on those again. Anyways, time to wrap things up for real. Happy, thrilled, excited, exhausted and in a way also a bit sad…

The end.

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Two more pieces of pie…

In a way i use this blog as a way to archive not only my own collection but also various other cool and interesting things. Who knows when a link goes offline or some image just vanishes. Today i was looking at the lots from the A Taste of Spring auction on Christie’s from earlier this year and noticed something that i obviously didn’t see back then. And that something is yet another alternative cover for Love is a Pie by Maude Hutchins. At about the same time i wrote this post about two other of these alternative covers, and like one of those this “new” one is also complete in the sense that it features both the title and the name of the author. There are also some interesting writing on this one, since i haven’t read the book i have no idea if they relate to things from the book in some way. Guess i need to go and see what i can find.

I don’t understand how they calculate the estimate/value of these high-end Warhol’s but my layman’s analysis is this. If some part of the drawing is colored in any capacity, that adds a couple of thousands of dollars. But something i don’t understand i how a great little drawing can be priced at something like $2-3000 and then a polaroid of the pavement or of some dirt and flowers will run you twice as much… Very strange to me. Luckily i don’t have to worry about these things.

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I also came across yet another image on the same theme from Artnet. The link is now dead and sadly i’ve been unable to find a higher resolution image of this one. It might be a stretch to call this an alternative cover, looks and feels more like a playful draft or a doodle kind of thing. I find it interesting that there are so many different cover ideas for this book. It’s also interesting that they are all very different, not only from each other, but also from what ended up being on the actual cover. I’m no artist but i guess it’s standard procedure to play around with different ideas in the beginning of a project, assignment or whatever, and it’s great that all of these were not discarded once the job was done.

EDIT: Thanks to Guy Minnebach for a higher resolution image of the second cover idea.

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