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Blaine, Mahlon

Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Artist.

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(1894-1969) US illustrator, probably born Blain and adding the "e" later. He was a major figure in book Illustration before the Depression, which devastated his livelihood: although he continued to illustrate, much of his work was for non-mainstream publishers; towards the end of his life he returned to illustrate some Edgar Rice Burroughs reissues [see Checklist below]. Among books of genre interest that he illustrated were two by Hanns Heinz Ewers, the US editions of The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1927) and Alraune (1929), and an edition of William Beckford's Vathek (1928). When painting, Blaine habitually used oils; his interiors were usually done in pen and ink. His book illustrations of the 1920s and 1930s were visibly much influenced by Aubrey Beardsley, those for Vathek in particular being decadently erotic. From the later 1930s through the 1950s much of his work was essentially to illustrate porn, such as Whip Some More, My Lady (1953) by Gibbon Goot, although mixed in among such stuff was an edition, with introduction by L Sprague de Camp, of Alexandre Dumas's The Wolf-Leader (1951), a lycanthropy novel.

A book of his work is The Art of Mahlon Blaine (graph 1982) by his friend Gershon Legman; unfortunately, it cannot be relied upon for biographical details because Blaine, following in the footsteps of Mark Twain, freely lied about his life. A more recent, very large assembly is The Outlandish Art of Mahlon Blaine (2009) ed Brian J Hunt. [JGr]

Mahlon Carradin Blaine

born Albany, Oregon: 16 June 1894

died probably New York: January 1969

works illustrated (selected)

further reading

  • Gershon Legman. The Art of Mahlon Blaine (Lansing, Michigan: Peregrine, 1982) [nonfiction: chap: graph: with introduction by Robert Arrington and bibliography by Roland Trenary: hb/Mahlon Blaine]
  • Brian J Hunt. The Outlandish Art of Mahlon Blaine (Portland, Oregon: GB Graphics, 2009) [graph: pb/Mahlon Blaine]


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