Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Original Pulp Paintings from the Robert Lesser Collection

The William Benton Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of Robert Lesser's voluminous collection of original pulp paintings. The show runs until March 14, 2010, and includes artwork from the covers of such magazines as Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction, and Planet Stories, as well as those of other genres, including Western, detective and crime, and war stories.

To learn more, visit the exhibition's web site: www.thebenton.org/exb_current.php?inc=31

There's also a slide show of artwork, including the covers of the magazines for which it was used, here.

It's a great opportunity to see some great, uniquely American pop art, and I highly recommend anyone who can make the trip does so.

I had a chance to poke through much of the art when I visited Lesser's apartment a few years ago. It was stacked four, five, six, seven paintings deep against every wall of his small, New York apartment. The art hung from every flat surface -- including the ceiling! Overwhelming. Scary and impressive at the same time. Lesser always said that he wants people to be able to appreciate the art, so it's great to see that it's found a home for a while. (I know he plans on donating it to a museum in New Britain, CT, sometime in the future.)

Robert Lesser at the preview of the auction of his vintage robots and space toys. (Photo by Karl Tate)

Lesser's art was on display a few years ago at the Brooklyn Museum. They did a pretty weak job of mounting the exhibition, though the scope and grandeur still came through. I hope this time the museum does the collection -- and the collector -- justice by putting some more thought into how they hang the art.


  1. Oh man, those paintings are stunning! Glad to hear they're getting a public viewing. What I wouldn't give to check them out. Do keep us posted if they find a permanent home, I'd like to know where they land.

  2. In 1994 I bought some spaceship toys in a department store in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia. They were new and made in China and were the old style painted, tin-metal type of toys made in the 50's. I wonder if Chinese factories can still produce these. There might be a good market for these old style toys in the US.....

  3. These toys have been heavily produced/reproduced in China for about 15 years. Some of the repros are good, some are terrible, but there's definitely a small market for them.


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