Ron Lesser all
IMAGE: 18 x 27
BOARD: 21 7/8 x 29 7/8
Oil on 1/8" Illustration Board.
This is the original painting published as the cover to the vintage paperback novel Lead In His Fists by Tom West in 1958.
After doing extensive research, it appears that this is not only the first paperback cover of Ron Lesser's career, but it quite possibly may also be his first commercial job, period! Lesser appears to have produced only 3 or 4 covers in all of 1959, and this is the only cover of his I've been able to find from 1958! When I first showed the art to Lesser, he didn't even remember it as his and he thought it might be by the great western artist Mel Crair. But upon mentioning that his name and address were written on the back of the board, he said "I guess it is mine . . . as that was my address in the late 50's. I've done so many pieces that . . . That said, it is undoubtedly one of my earliest commercial works." That certainly puts into perspective how early a job this is for Lesser!
The painting has lots of impasto in the background, which along with Lesser's brush technique along the bottom half of the image to create that dry, dusty look, really makes this piece stand out!