James Avati was born in 1912 and started by designing store window displays. In the 1930's he went to magazine illustrations until 1948, when he stated doing covers for the New American Library. He brought a dark, brooding realstic style to paperbacks which was soon imitated by many others. His finest period was from 1949 through 1955, when he did many covers for Signet Books. He would never be considered a GGA artist but had an enormous influence, moving cover art from the brash, bright and almost cartoonish styles of artists like Rudolph Belarski, to a darker, more sober style on many of the 'sleaze' digests.
Rudolph Belarksi was born in 1900 and put himself through the Pratt Art Institute at age 21 and was invited back to teach 3 years after graduation. His first covers were for the pulp magazines such as Western Roundup, Wings, Thrilling Detective and many others published by Ned Pines. Pines founded Popular Library in 1942 and Belarski produced his first paperback cover in 1948. A number of his pulps were recycled as paperback covers and eventually did some 50 Popular Library covers. In 1957 he joined the staff of the Famous Artist School in Westport, Connecticut.
Earle K Bergey began his career producing pulp magazine covers in the 1920s for Radio Magazines and early risque magazines. In the 1940s he worked on pulps such as Thrilling Wonder Stories, Captain Future, Popular Love and others. In the late 1940s he joined Rudolph Belarski at Popular Library and did 16 covers there. After that he went to Pocket Books.
Gerald Gregg started out free-lancing for Western Printing & Lithographing Co. and in 1935 was given a permanent position. In 1943 he was assigned to do the covers for the new Dell paperback line and produced 176 covers for them. He worked with an airbrush which made his work for Dell unique and striking. During his stay at Western he also drew comic strips and the back covers of their Little Golden Books.
Robert Maguire started at Pocket Books in 1953 and then went to Signet between 1954 and 1958. He also did covers for Dell, Berkley, Monarch, Lion Books and Hillman. He rivaled Robert McGinnis for painting beautiful women.
Robert McGinnis was born in 1926 and was initially employed by the Disney Studios. Starting in 1958, he produced more than 1500 paperback covers for most of the major publishers. He is best known for Dell's Mike Shayne series and Signet's Carter Brown books. He also did magazine illustrations and movie posters. His work was recently collected in 2 books: The Paperback Covers of Robert McGinnis and Tapestry: The Paintings of Robert E. McGinnis. Both are fine books but the paperback cover book is obviously of more interest to us.
Barye Phillips started by working for Columbia Pictures' advertising department in the early 1940s and did training booklets and propaganda during WW II. Her began painting paperback covers around 1943 and was very prolific, working for several publishers in various styles. His best known work was probably for Gold Medal and other Fawcett imprints.
Norman Saunders was born January 1, 1907 in Minneapolis and studied at the Grand Central School of Art in Minneapolis. Early in his career he worked on Fawcett magazine covers such as True Confessions before going free- lance. Beginning in 1948 he produced covers for a number of paperback houses including Ace, Ballantine, Bantam, Handi, Lion, Popular Library and Reader's Choice.
Robert Stanley whose paintings for Dell from 1950 through 1959 were a major part of the Dell 'look' in the 50s. He often used himself and his wife Rhoda as models for his covers. He also did some Westerns for Bantam in 1949 and 1950; as well as Lion, Beacon and Signet throughout his career.
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