Taschen has just launched Masterpieces of Fantasy Art, a massive art book dedicated to some of the very best creators of fantasy art – a huge and not inexpensive volume, but one that’s sure to appeal to fans of Frank Frazetta, Boris Vellejo, HR Giger and many more.
Fantasy art, that colourful blend of myth, muscle and sexy maidens, took off in 1923 with the launch of Weird Tales magazine, was reinvigorated in the 1960s with The Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian paperbacks with Frank Frazetta covers, and the late ’60s emergence of fantasy psychedelia. It went big in the 1970s with the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, the brilliant French magazine Métal Hurlant, and the first Star Wars film.
The number of active artists peaked in that decade, but a new generation of fans discovered the genre through fantasy trading card games in the 1990s, leading to a massive interest in the art form today. Frank Frazetta’s oil paintings – when they infrequently come to market have sold for more than $5 million in recent years. Fans line up at Comic-Cons to meet Boris Vallejo, Rodney Matthews, Greg Hildebrandt, Michael Whelan, and Philippe Druillet, and memorialise icons HR Giger, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, and Frazetta.
This monster-sized tome, which runs to over 500 pages, features original paintings, contextualised by preparatory sketches, sculptures, calendars, magazines, and paperback books for an immersive dive into this dynamic, fanciful genre. Insightful bios give a more accurate and eye-opening look into the life of each artist.
Complete with tipped-in chapter openers, this collection will reign as the most exquisite and informative guide to this popular subject for years to come.
Masterpieces of Fantasy Art is written and edited by Dian Hanson, who produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs, Outlaw Biker, and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book Editor. Her titles include the “body part” series, The Art of Pin-up, Psychedelic Sex, and Ren Hang.