Monday, April 13, 2015

John Berkey Paints a Cadillac

A few years ago on this blog I wondered if John Berkey was the best illustrator of space ships. Along with science-fiction book covers, Berkey also did more conventional illustration. A skimpy Wikipedia entry is here and a website devoted to his art is here.

Not long ago I was mousing through the web and came across two studies by Berkey that were up for sale. They looked oddly familiar, and then I realized that they were preliminary art for the cover of a 1976 book I've owned for nearly 40 years. Since the cover art wasn't of a space ship, I never connected it with Berkey. But I flipped to the back flap and, sure enough, John Berkey was listed as the artist.

The subject is a 1930 or 1931 Cadillac V-16 Town Brougham by Fleetwood shown sitting in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Below are Berkey's studies along with a scan I made of the cover. To enlarge, click on the images.


This seems to be an earlier study. It's fairly sketchy.

This study is closer to the final version. The car has reversed its direction and now includes a chauffeur as well as greater detail of other elements.

Scan of the book cover.

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