Mahlon Blaine was a twentieth century
American artist who is remembered chiefly today for his brilliant
illustrations to many books, both children's and adult. His mastery of
line was, and remains, unique and masterful. Likened, rightfully, to
Aubrey Beardsley, Blaine was another original mind, and his interest in
portraying the animal nature of humanity lost him a wider audience.
The only monograph on the artist so far
published is The Art of Mahlon Blaine (Peregrine Books, 1982),
and this wonderful book, which includes a deep insight into the artist
by his colleague Gershon Legman, contains a good cross-section of
Blaine's colour and b-&-w art and an excellent bibliography of Blaine
books compiled by Roland Trenary.
Many other books illustrated by
Blaine turn up commonly in secondhand bookshops: his illustrated
versions of Voltaire's Candide and Sterne's A Sentimental Journey are
frequently encountered. These books are good examples of his work, but
the enthusiast is advised to pursue the many other Blaine-illustrated
books, especially the weird-fantastic fiction titles so perfectly-suited
to his work.