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Articles on this Page
- 04/30/18--01:00: _André Derain's Chan...
- 05/03/18--01:00: _In the Beginning: A...
- 05/07/18--01:00: _Picasso From Around...
- 05/10/18--01:00: _Some Pissarro Marke...
- 05/14/18--01:00: _Stanhope Forbes: Co...
- 05/17/18--01:00: _Max Slevogt, Secess...
- 05/21/18--01:00: _The Reichsluftfahrt...
- 05/24/18--01:00: _Austin Cooper: Post...
- 05/28/18--01:00: _Ocean Liners: Speed...
- 05/31/18--01:00: _Details by Detaille
- 06/04/18--01:00: _Fred Taylor: Poster...
- 06/07/18--01:00: _In the Beginning: P...
- 06/11/18--01:00: _Harrogate Travel Po...
- 06/14/18--01:00: _Jes Schlaikjer, For...
- 06/18/18--01:00: _Alden McWilliams'"T...
- 06/21/18--01:00: _William Strang's Pa...
- 06/25/18--01:00: _Henry Lamb: Painter...
- 06/28/18--01:00: _Otto Soglow: From T...
- 07/02/18--01:00: _Up Close: Moreau's ...
- 07/05/18--01:00: _Alden McWilliams' T...
- 04/30/18--01:00: André Derain's Changing Styles
- 05/03/18--01:00: In the Beginning: Andrew Wyeth
- 05/07/18--01:00: Picasso From Around 1930-1940
- 05/10/18--01:00: Some Pissarro Marketplace Paintings
- 05/14/18--01:00: Stanhope Forbes: Cornwall Scenes
- 05/17/18--01:00: Max Slevogt, Secessionist
- 05/21/18--01:00: The Reichsluftfahrtministerium's Career (and Mural)
- 05/24/18--01:00: Austin Cooper: Posters to Abstraction
- 05/28/18--01:00: Ocean Liners: Speed and Style at the V&A
- 05/31/18--01:00: Details by Detaille
- 06/04/18--01:00: Fred Taylor: Poster Art for the LNER and Others
- 06/07/18--01:00: In the Beginning: Paul Gauguin
- 06/11/18--01:00: Harrogate Travel Posters from the LNER
- 06/14/18--01:00: Jes Schlaikjer, Forgotten Illustrator
- 06/18/18--01:00: Alden McWilliams'"Twin Earths" Artwork
- 06/21/18--01:00: William Strang's Painting of People
- 06/25/18--01:00: Henry Lamb: Painter, Physician
- 06/28/18--01:00: Otto Soglow: From The New Masses to The Little King
- 07/02/18--01:00: Up Close: Moreau's "Salome Dancing before Herod"
- 07/05/18--01:00: Alden McWilliams' Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Comic Books
André Derain (1880-1954) was a noted modernist who, like Picasso, changed styles at many points in his career. Unlike Picasso, perhaps because his paintings are less famous, Derain's paintings can be fairly hard to identify as being his. For example, I posted here about his landscapes, many of which bear little stylistic relationship to how he painted other subjects.
Derain is best known for being a founder of Fauvism, along with Henri Matisse. He also was involved in the brief post- Great War return to classicalism by modernists, but beyond that point, he didn't involve himself with later movements such as Dada and Surrealism, and so far as I know never did abstract painting.
For some information regarding his career, go here.
Due the the lack of a strong Derain style, I cannot guarantee that all the paintings below are his or that they are correctly dated. I had to rely on captions for them found on the Web in a more naïve manner than I prefer.
A strongly painted still-life not far removed from some Hans Hofmann abstractions of 60 years later.
A fairly naturalistic scene with a few hints of Fauvist coloration.
Fauvist portrait of a fauvist.
Fauvist cityscape. Parliament towers are the green stuff above the bridge.
Assuming this is by Derain (no visible signature), this seems to be about as close to Cubism as he could manage.
Hints of Cubist faceting here.
A example of his postwar return to representational art, though there is a little modenrst-inspired simplification.
Probably Derain's best-known non-fauvist work. Distortion of some proportions and perspective.
Continuing towards 1930 with a few modernist whiffs.
Flatness and simplification creep in here as well as in some other paintings from around this time.
But not in this landscape painted a few years later.
This is one of very few post- World War 2 Derain paintings I noticed on the Internet.
Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917-2009), son of famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth, was a sickly lad who in 1951 had part of a lung removed, yet lived 91 years and attained fame perhaps surpassing that of his father. "Christina's World," shown above, is his most iconic work and resides in New York's Museum of Modern Art, of all places.
Wyeth's Wikipedia entry is here, and an interesting timeline can be found on the Web site devoted to him.
I'll probably get around to posting about the disdain his work provoked amongst modernist-oriented observers at some point. For now, let's focus on how quickly Wyeth evolved his signature style that, with some variation, he practiced for some 60 years. Because his work was so commercially successful and so far removed from trendy art movements of his time, he had no reason to follow that aspect of the art market.
The sky is slightly cropped in this image. It was painted in oils when Wyeth was about 16. He switched to watercolors and tempera not long after he made this.
Wyeth was about 20 when this watercolor was painted.
He was still using bright colors at this point: that would soon change.
By about age 25 Wyeth was settling into colors and techniques that he would largely follow for the rest of his career.
Another wartime painting. Wyeth's health made him unfit for military service.
Painted when he was about 30.
Completed soon after his lung operation.
I posted a "Towards the End" topic dealing with Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and his post-1950 paintings here. I concluded: "To my eye, there was no real stylistic progression or sense of direction over the 20 years [ca. 1950-1970] covered by the example images.... This ties into the thesis of my e-book "Art Adrift" that once the elements of modernist painting had been established by around 1920, aspiring modernists and even established ones such as Picasso had no real sense of what to do next."
My benchmark for that analysis was his Dora Maar au chat of 1941 that not many years ago was auctioned at a very high price. So my point was that he seemingly had largely run out of creative fuel by the time he was around 60 years old.
Which leads us to the present post that deals with some of his paintings from the late 1920s into the early 1940s. His stylistic changes are shown with an eye towards both his previous and future work.
Very flat, largely primary colors with black lines on a nearly-white background. These features are Piet Mondrian- like, absent the rigid geometry. The "model" at the left has three eyes arranged vertically, a fairly early example of his radical repositioning of his subjects' elements. In a sense, this is an extension of cubist practice, but without so much clutter.
More flat colors, but thinner lines and attention to overlapping areas.
More flatness along with not-quite-human subjects. An exception is the tiny Dalí-like lancer on his horse at center-left.
Picasso is concerned with patterns here as well as ways of distorting the human figure. Returning is some modeling atop otherwise flat areas.
He continues his exploration of distortions and rearrangements. Fortunately for Picasso, his fame had long since reached the point where his signature on a painting would almost guarantee its sale regardless of its quality.
He also took some time-outs to return a little closer to representation.
Portrait of his mistress at the time he painted his famous "Guernica." Flat areas of 1930 vintage are gone while he continues playing with post-cubist rearranging.
Here he tries leaving a segment in monochrome where a handkerchief might be.
Continuing his exploration of distortion, rearrangement.
A return to flatter areas and heavy lines. I wonder what Dora thought of this one.
Two years later, Dora is still around, and so are Picasso's late-1930s concepts. To me it seems that he had largely run out of new stylistic ideas by that time and was settling into the long period mentioned in the link above.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) often returned to the same kind of subject over his career. One of the subjects that occasionally crops up is marketplace scenes. Some are "establishment shots," where the market square is seen from a distance. Others are closeups, with sellers and buyers in the foreground and crowds in the background.
Shown below are five such "closeup" scenes. My knowledge of Pissarro is sketchy, so I relied on Internet sources for captions reporting the paintings' subject markets and dates. Assuming that information is correct, Pissarro made them from time to time over nearly a decade.
Stanhope Alexander Forbes (1857-1947) painted scenes in Brittany and elsewhere in England, but his focus was Cornwall, at Britain's western tip. A fairly lengthy Wikipedia entry for Forbes is here. I wrote about the painting shown above here. It is perhaps his best-known work and the excellent brushwork is best appreciated in person, though you normally need to visit the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery to view it.
Below are some other Cornish scenes painted by Forbes.
This indoor Cornish painting was part of the original Tate collection.
More of a sketch than a finished work, thought Forbes signed it.
Forbes did much plein air painting, but this had to be mostly or entirely studio-made.
Not long ago, local folks helped keep this painting from being removed from Cornwall (some details here).
A late painting done in wartime: note several British solders along the street.
Max Slevogt (1868-1932) is categorized as an Impressionist, but also did some Symbolist subject paintings and other kinds of works including illustration. He became associated with the Berlin Secession, according to his Wikipedia entry. Another source filled with a confusing mix of facts, and dates is here.
These and other sources state or imply that Slevogt was a very important German painter. That is probably so, though I can't work up much enthusiasm for his manner of sketchy brushwork and therefore don't regard him highly.
Your taste may well vary, so here are images of some of his paintings in approximately chronological order to ponder.
The same model seems to be in both paintings.
Around this time, Slevogt's sketchy style kicks in more noticeably.
This might be his wife, Antonie (Nini) Finkler.
More than a sketch, less than a painting.
Berlin's main street shortly before the Great War.
A hazard of travel is getting sick. In April I was flying from London to Seattle, all the while the man in the seat behind me was coughing. Of course, a few days later I came down with a horrific cold followed by a sinus infection. And then I was off to Germany to take a tour that filled in a few gaps from previous visits.
All this is my sorry excuse for not researching something I had planned to do in Berlin, namely track down the Reichsluftfahrtministerium. It was the headquarters of Hermann Göring's Aviation Ministry and for some reason survived Allied bombings and Russian artillery during World War 2. That is, it's the only remaining major Nazi-era building in the city -- a real curiosity. (Background information can be found here.)
I had a free day to rattle around Berlin, visiting places I'd seen before and looking for new buildings, stores and such things that comprise a thriving city. Towards the end of the day I suddenly remembered that it would be nice to track down the Reichsluftfahrtministerium. Except I didn't know where it was other than it probably would have been near the Wilhelm Strasse, the avenue where ministries had tended to be since the Kaiser's day.
Austin Cooper (1890-1964) was a Canadian-born British poster artist who, before he died, must have discovered that an automobile (the Austin Mini Cooper) was his namesake. Kidding aside, Cooper was one of a group of illustrators who created travel posters using a similar technique for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), especially during the 1930s.
His Wikipedia entry mentions that he moved across the Atlantic a few times but finally settled in England following his service in the Canadian army in the Great War. Besides creating posters, he managed a school of commercial art in the late 1930s, then abandoned illustration in the mid-1940s to pursue fine arts. Some of his abstract paintings are in the Tate collection.
London's Victoria & Albert Museum has an exhibit titled "Ocean Liners: Speed and Style" that will be going on into June. Here is the V&S's web page for it, though it might disappear once the exhibit closes.
It's not a large exhibit, perhaps limited by the space available for such things, so I found it a bit over-priced at 18 pounds. But I found it enjoyable because the 1920s and 1930s have always fascinated me, and most of the items on display are from those times -- especially the 1930s.
Below are some photos I took when I was there in April.
Sadly, I neglected to take a documentation photo, so cannot tell you where the items originated.
Very Art Deco, and might have been from almost any new French, Italian or British liner, though the airplane looks like a British de Havilland Rapide (again, I failed to document the source).
Now comes the Big Surprise -- for me, anyway. It's the model of the 1932 streamlined ocean liner designed by Norman Bel Geddes.
I wrote about French military artist Édouard Detaille -- Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille (1848-1912) -- here.
A recent visit to the Musée de l'Armée in Paris brought me back in contact with a painting by him that the museum calls Remise de ses nouveaux drapeaux et étendards à l’Armée Française sur l’Hippodrome de Longchamp, le 14 Juillet 1880 (Web site citation here).
It is a large-scale study for a painting titled La distribution des drapeaux à Longchamp par le président Jules Grévy le 14 Juillet 1880 (link here) that Detaille chose to destroy after it had been exhibited. Apparently it hadn't been well-received, and Detaille also was somewhat dissatisfied with it. Some segments were cut out and later displayed as standalone works.
Readers interested in painters' techniques might wish to examine the photos I took of parts of the study version in the Musée de l'Armée. Detaille included an immense number of figures in the foreground and elsewhere, and readers can see how he indicated these. Click on my photos to considerably enlarge.
Fred Taylor (1875-1963) was one of the many talented artists who created art for British railway company travel posters.
Biographical information on him is truly sketchy. A National Railway Museum publication in my library has the following:
"Born in London, he studied at Goldsmith's College and worked at the Waring and Gillow Studio. In 1930 he was commissioned to design four ceiling paintings for the Underwriting Room at Lloyd's and murals for Reed's Lacquer Room. He worked in naval camouflage during the Second World War. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and other galleries in London, and worked for the Empire Marketing Board, LNER, London Transport and several shopping companies."
And that's all I could find. The above blurb essentially deals with what he did starting at age 55.
The images below are of some of the poster art he did for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) along with a few others in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of his 1930s work for LNER is similar in style to that of Tom Purvis, a more critically acclaimed poster artist who I wrote about here. Most of his poster illustrations are made in more traditional styles. Regardless, they are skillfully done. They were also popular with the general public, if the criterion is sales of posters. Moreover, Taylor was the best-paid LNER poster artist.
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) famously painted Postimpressionist, often Symbolist scenes of Brittany and French Polynesia using exaggerated color schemes. It took him a while to reach his signature style, and this post provides some examples of his work leading up to that point.
Wikipedia provides an lengthy (for them) entry dealing with Gauguin here. Included is information that he began painting about 1873, but didn't do it full-time until starting around 1882-83.
Below are images of some paintings from his earliest artistic days to when his main style emerged.
A dark scene reminding me of Barbizon School art.
This is sketchier, the colors are brighter yet limited.
Here we find Impressionist-style brushwork and perhaps coloring (though this is an interior scene, not outdoor countryside).
Painted while they were still friends.
Here Gauguin is using somewhat stronger brushwork while maintining interest in color combinations.
This setting is a rarity for Gauguin.
A subject theme while he was in Brittany, though here his style is close-to, but not quite Gauguin.
Now he has been exposed to tropical colors -- an important factor of his later work.
Then, in 1888, Gauguin painted pictures in a wide variety of styles including the cloisonnist, strongly colored theme he became noted for.
Paintings from 1888
A nice portrait of artist Emile Bernard's sister.
An experiment using extremely bold colors.
Here he drops back briefly towards Impressionism.
This is perhaps Gauguin's earliest famous painting.
During the 1920s and 1930s Britain had four major privately owned passenger railway systems that operated on a largely regional basis. That is, each had a core area that it essentially dominated, but also had tendrils that were in areas of others. So there was some direct competition, but that was generally minor aside from, for instance, the London Midland & Scottish Railway and the London and North Eastern Railway (the LNER) both serving Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Besides the relatively minor case of overlapping destinations, the greatest competition seems to have involved attracting tourists and vacationers to places within core service areas. For example, the Great Western Railway would publicize Cornwall while the LNER would be touting Scarborough, leaving potential travelers to mull over which site to select.
To keep advertising fresh from season to season and year to year, railroad companies often used different poster designers over time instead of sticking to one artist doing multiple works for the same destination (though that was done too). This rotation was the policy of LNER.
As an example of this, below are LNER posters for the spa city of Harrogate in Yorkshire, not far west of York.
I hadn't known of Jes Wilhelm Schlaikjer (1897–1982) until he was featured in Illustration Magazine a few months ago.
For one thing, he wasn't included in my go-to reference book about illustrators, Walt Reed's The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. Another reason I hadn't noticed him was that he seldom or never appeared in major magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post or Collier's nor in some other magazines that I sometimes saw when I was young.
His Wikipedia is here. It states that he was "most known for his recruitment and war bonds posters during World War II." The Illustration Magazine article also deals with his pulp magazine cover art and illustrations he made for the American Legion's magazine.
What struck me was how competent Schlaikjer was in depicting people. Most illustrators of his generation were competent at doing that, but he was at least half a notch above the average of the pack.
Sadly, his career ended when in his early 60s he contracted Parkinson's Disease which afflicted him for the rest of his long life.
The images below can be found in the Illustration Magazine article along with many more. You can probably still order that issue (No. 59).
This is in line with illustration fashions of the time. Reminds me of Dean Cornwell's early 1920s work, though the Illustration article does not mention any direct connection between the two men. However, they both had training at Chicago's Art Institute and the Art Students League.
Pulp magazine cover.
Another from a few years later, this in a style he mostly used for that magazine. He signed his pulp work with the blob seen at the bottom of the image. The Illustration article probably correctly speculates that his was done as a career-protection tactic -- so as not to be type-cast as a pulp illustrator.
Again Schlaikjer uses a vignette format. But here his depiction is far more naturalistic.
I find this very nicely done -- especially the seated officer in the foreground.
This features the famous M-1 (Garand) rifle. I was issued one in basic training and liked it better than the later M-14 I had when stationed in Korea.
Schlaikjer was a Great War Signal Corps guy, so probably put extra effort into this poster.
McAuliffe led the defenders of Bastogne during the December 1944 Battle of the Bulge and famously told the Germans "Nuts!" when asked to surrender. Note how well Schlaikjer captured McAuliffe.
The first, and perhaps the most famous, science-fiction comic strip was Buck Rogers which debuted in January 1929. Others of that genre followed, the best-known of these was Flash Gordon which featured the highest quality artwork of the lot, certainly in its earliest years when Alex Raymond wielded his pen and brush.
The only other American sci-fi strip with top-notch artwork that I'm aware of off-hand was Twin Earths (1952-1963), created by publications maestro Oskar Lebeck (1903-1966), who did the writing in the early years and Alden McWilliams (1916-1993), who did the art. I will probably write more about McWilliams in another post, but shall focus on Twin Earths here.
The concept of Twin Earths was that there existed a totally Earth-like planet that shared Earth's orbit but at exactly the opposite side -- 180 degrees away. This meant that, as of 1952 when the strip started, there was no way we on Earth could detect Terra, as it was called. Terrans were a few hundred years ahead of Earth technologically, so could visit here using their flying saucer spacecraft. Another quirk was that their population was 90 percent female. Yet another was that they had lifespans exceeding 150 years, yet preserved youthful appearances over most of that time.
The opening few months of panels can be found here. A Terran female agent reveals her identity to an FBI agent, the male hero of the strip. Then things flow from there.
The Seattle Times newspaper suffered a strike in 1953, and when it ended the paper published special sections displaying all the comics that would have been printed during the time of the strike. I recently made scans of these for Twin Earths, and two of these are displayed below. At this point in the strip's development, the plotting wasn't very interesting. Mostly it was presenting the futuristic marvels of Terra, contrasting them with 1953 Earth. There was a bit of romance-related activity, but no space wars or bug-eyed monsters.
I'll comment further in the captions, but want to stress McWilliams' artwork. Grinding out comics panels day after day can make corner-cutting tempting. Yet McWilliams didn't seem to fall into that mode very often, maintaining a commendably even strain.
Click on the images to enlarge.
William Strang (1959-1921) was a Scot who spent his career in London, first as an etcher and later as a painter of portraits, mostly. A useful summary of his career is here.
His paintings were workmanlike, but skilled -- that is, not flashy like Sargent's. Nor were his subjects usualy major aristocrats, so far as I can tell. And he was little influenced by Modernism, though there are hints of that in some of the images below.
As her extensive Wikipedia entry mentions, she was indeed aristocratic. But she also had a literary life, as did other Strang portrait subjects. Modernist simplification can be seen in this painting, though Vita's face is accurately portrayed.
A more definite literary figure, Masefield was appointed Poet Laureate in 1930.
"Jacky" Fisher was First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy. His major innovations included the creation of battleship Dreadnought, the first all-big-gun ship of its kind, along with the less-successful battlecruiser line.
Not everyone Strang painted was famous.
He also painted upper-middle class genre scenes. Some modernist simplification and flattening are found here, though there is no distortion of the subjects' proportions.
A hugely popular topic for painters for many years.
These are occasional three-day weekends in the United Kingdom.
The man at the right resembles Strang as seen in several of his self-portraits.
No sign of modernist influence here.
Hardy is another important literary subject: biography here. Note the modernist background -- possibly a real painting, but might have been a Strang invention. This is one of his last works.
Henry Taylor Lamb (1883-1960) had almost completed his medical training when he chucked it and took up art. As mentioned here, some of his art instruction was at William Orpen and Augustus John's Chelsea School of Art. Lamb became friends with John, but his first wife's liberated ways that paralleled John's made for complicated times before the Lambs separated.
When the Great War started, Lamb hurriedly completed his medical training and became an army medical officer serving in most of the major fronts. Then he returned to art, eventually divorced, and then married the much younger Lady Pansy Pakenham (daughter of an earl) by whom they had three children. World War 2 found him as a war artist, though most of his paintings were portraits and scenes from training areas.
Aside from military subjects, the bulk of Lamb's paintings seem to be portraits, some of persons involved in London's literary scene. However, this source said that his attitudes about the Bloomsbury Set were not positive.
Lamb's painting style seldom reached very far into Modernism, though he did simplify on occasion and once in a while resorted to distortion. I might characterize it as 1930-vintage not-quite-traditional.
An example of Lamb's use of distortion.
Commissioned by the Imperial War Museum.
An example of Lamb's landscape painting.
The author. I am not sure about the color, as some Internet images differ considerably.
When Chamberlain was Prime Minister.
Painted while a war artist.
That's a Westland Lysander observation aircraft.
Otto Soglow (1900-1975) was a successful comic strip cartoonist. His Little King character first appeared in The New Yorker magazine in 1930 and became a Hearst Sunday strip in 1934. Thereafter, it ran for more than 40 years until Soglow died.
His Wikipedia entry is here, but it's brief. A much more comprehensive survey of his career can be found here.
Soglow received some of his art training from John Sloan who, among other things, was involved in leftist politics, and helped Soglow get some cartoons published in The Liberator. Soglow also contributed work to The New Masses.
Around the same time he was contributing to The New Masses, Soglow began having cartoons published in The New Yorker, a brand-new magazine intended for sophisticates in that city and elsewhere. Also at this time his style was evolving from the Sloan-Masses-Ashcan style to highly simplified Moderne. His Little King retained that style over its 45-year overall existence.
It was an interesting transformation Soglow made -- from socialist content to taking William Randolph Hearst's shilling and drawing a royal cartoon character.
Gustave Moreau (1826-1878) was something of a Symbolist whose later painting style is a taste I can't seem to acquire. Your reactions to him might well differ.
Background on him and his career is here.
The Hammer Museum in the Westwood district of Los Angeles and affiliated with nearby UCLA holds one of his most important works,"Salome Dancing to Herod." This subject, and the closely related one of John the Baptist's head, have been grist for many artists over the centuries. It can be interesting to compare their interpretations, but for the purposes of this post, the focus is Moreau's version of the dance.
The museum had an exhibit in 2012 related to the painting, and here is the Los Angeles Times' art critic's reaction to it.
I visited the Hammer in 2010 and took a few photos of the painting.
My photo was slightly out of focus, as often happens when in museums using automatic mode. I tried to sharpen things, but it's not worth enlarging this because it's still a bit blurred.
Alden McWilliams (1916-1993) was one of those comparatively rare comics artists of his generation who could draw people convincingly. I wrote about his work on the Twin Earths comic strip here. Some biographical information can be found here and here.
One of McWilliams' projects was creating content for Tom Corbett, Space Cadet comic books. For detailed information about those comic books, click here.
McWilliams did cover art for eleven of those comic books, but interior art for only the first three. Those were issued February, May and August of 1952, which suggests that he did his work from the late summer of 1951 into the winter of 1952 (considering production lead-times). His Twin Earths daily comic strip debuted 16 June 1952, so he probably began working on it no later than early April of that year. Therefore, if there was any overlap for those projects aside from creating covers, it was minimal, so McWilliams could maintain the high quality of his work. A strong possibility is that he chose to drop doing Space Cadet interior content when he got the Twin Earths gig: otherwise, he might have contunued Space Cadet.
Tom Corbett, Space Cadet started as a television show that began airing in 1950 and later bounced around several TV networks. This meant that the comic books had to portray the characters as personified by the show's actors. That is, McWilliams was doing portrait art as part of comic book art.
Below are some scans I made of the second and third issues of the comic book. They include the cover, one interior colored page and one page without color (the latter was always on the inside cover). Click on the images to enlarge.