Illustration by Lawrence for The Undying Monster (1946) by Jessie Kerruish.
Another of those collisions between fine art and pulp fiction that I like to note now and then. The drawing above by Lawrence Sterne Stevens (from this page) I immediately recognised as borrowing its fish from the painting below by Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre (1887–1938), or Néstor as he’s usually known. Stevens was also usually credited by the single name Lawrence, and this is one of his many first-rate contributions to Famous Fantastic Mysteries. I’ve already noted a similar borrowing by his contemporary, Virgil Finlay, so this example isn’t too surprising. It’s unlikely that many of the readers eagerly devouring Jessie Kerruish’s tale would have been familiar with Néstor’s paintings. On the same Lawrence page there’s his illustration for Arthur Machen’s The Novel of the Black Seal which ran in the same issue.
Poema del Mar: Noche (1913–1924).
Néstor is distinguished by a predilection for aquarian scenes and writhing figures, all of which are presented in a very distinctive and recognisable style. He also happens to be one of the few major artists to come from the Canary Islands which no doubt explains his interest in the sea. The Poema del Mar series, and other works such as this satyr head, often find him numbered among the Spanish Symbolists although he’s rather late for that movement, and this assumes that every artist has to be placed in one box or another whether they belong there or not. These giant fish could just as well make him another precursor of the Surrealists, and they do occasionally receive a mention for their similarity to (and possible influence upon) Dalí’s enormous Tuna Fishing (Homage to Meissonier) (1966–67). There’s more of Néstor’s work over at Bajo el Signo de Libra (Spanish language).
Poema del Mar: Tarde (1913–1924).
Poema del Mar: Reposo (1913–1924).