I’ve been doing science fiction conventions for over 40 years now. Part of any good con is the art show, and I used to go to them a lot, drooling over the art I liked, occasionally bidding, occasionally winning. Now the last few months I’ve been in transition to a new house, an apartment actually, and back to the good old bachelor existence. And I have been rediscovering some of the treasures I collected Back in the Day. Here’s one that I found last week.
I don’t remember where or how I got this. I’m guessing I won it in an art auction in 1977 or 78, probably LepreCon–the first of the Phoenix science fiction conventions, and one that I helped start. My scanner wasn’t quite big enough to get the whole thing, so the brown part you see on the right is the mat. Back in the day, when role-playing was young, and so was I, Liz and most other artists would simply mat their works and put them up for sale at convention art shows. I hadn’t known her for long–she was like the second decent artist to appear in fannish Phoenix circles–the first being Rob Carver. Prices were ridiculously low in those days–an original piece of art would often start at $5–some of them had no minimum bid. I don’t know what I paid for it, but I was happy to get it. Then when I got it home, I discovered I had no place to put it. My wife would not let me put fannish art up around the house. So this piece of art nouveau went into the back room, where it graced a wall for a while, then got taken down and buried in a stack of other originals that I acquired over time. I have a lot of these treasures–most by artists who never went on to acquire the kind of reputation for excellence that Elizabeth T. Danforth has. In those days I wanted art for fanzines, for T & T, and just because it looked good, but most artists sold their stuff without reprint rights, and I never got to really use most of it IMHO, art should be seen, shared, and appreciated. When I found this again, I sent Liz a scan and asked her if I could share it on the web. She graciously agreed.
The Peacock Fan is very early Danforth, but you can already see the beauty of the characters, the gracefulness of line, and the balance of composition that characterizes her work. There is nothing overtly fantastic about this piece, but it has that fantasy feel. This redhead could be the heroine of any early 20th century fiction. She’s a real beauty.
If you like Danforth’s art, feel free to leave a comment here.