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Clyne, Ronald

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1925-2006) American artist and book designer, sometimes credited in error as Robert Clyne. As a young sf fan in Chicago, Clyne began his career by contributing artwork to some regional fanzines as well as interior illustrations and cartoons to Ray Palmer's magazines Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures. After sending a sample of his work to August Derleth, he was hired to do book covers for Arkham House. His early efforts were usually monochromatic drawings which sometimes seemed inspired and sometimes seemed pedestrian; perhaps the best of these, for Robert Bloch's The Opener of the Way (coll 1945), showed a pensive, Pan-like figure reclining against a gravestone. As a rare excursion into more colourful art, Clyne also painted the May 1946 cover of Weird Tales, a stately rendering of a robed man holding a lantern and walking through a graveyard. Some later Arkham covers featured only text and patterned backgrounds, classifying them as products more of book design than of illustration. He almost certainly knew both Derleth and Ben Abramson personally, a connection which may have occasioned his cover for J O Bailey's Pilgrims through Space and Time (1947), published by Abramson's Argus Books; he also did the cover for Marjorie Hope Nicolson's Voyages to the Moon (1948).

Clyne's career shifted after an art director noticed and admired his cover for A E Coppard's Fearful Pleasures (coll 1946) – a moody drawing of a bearded man next to a window – leading to his first assignments in the more lucrative field of commercial art, although he still produced occasional covers for Arkham House books and other books by Derleth. His later covers for major publishers included two rather minimalist efforts for books by Charles Beaumont. What Clyne truly became famous for, however, was producing over 500 album covers for Folkways Records between 1948 and 1986 which reflected his growing admiration for the artwork of the South Pacific. It was these album covers, not his covers for Arkham House, that were later featured in an exhibition of Clyne's works. [GW]

Ronald S Clyne

born Chicago, Illinois: 28 December 1925

died 26 February 2006


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