The Father of Science Fiction Illustration was also a Wizard of Extra-Terrestrial Imagery.
Here is a quote from David Szondy's article: "In the late '30s, Paul had a chance to let his imagination run for a bit with a series of back-cover pieces depicting cities on other planets and the creatures that inhabit them. His ideas of what our neighbours in the Solar System and beyond look like were often strikingly beautiful and showed a creativity that put the standard Star Trek man-with-a-lumpy-forehead school to shame. They were meant as flights of fancy rather than educated theories, but it says a lot about the times that his Martians, Venusians, and Whateverians were taken seriously and not as the product of using paint thinner in an unventilated space. "
Should we take Paul's artwork seriously? In other words, should we say it's Art - and not just Pulp, or Kitsch or Fooling Around? Well, another quote, brought to us by Frank Wu's website:
"FRP's style shows his architectural training; his cities and technology are lovingly detailed, his aliens well thought out and plausible, but his human figures stiff and simplistic. His colours were bright (almost garish, even for the period) and flat, and he liked pure reds and yellows, particularly as backgrounds (although this was partly due to Gernsback's meanness in using three- rather than four-colour printing). It seems odd to associate primitive art with sf, but FRP was in his technological way, just as much a primitive as Grandma Moses (1860-1961) and, like her, had an authentic naive poetry to his work. The brightness of colour throughout the pulp-magazine era of SF was a direct result of FRP's influence. FRP was guest of honour at the first World SF convention in 1939. " Jon Gustafson/Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. John Clute and Peter Nicholls, 1993, St. Martin's Press, N.Y.
Ray Bradbury had this to say: "As for me, Frank R. Paul romanced me with future architectures when I was eight, summoning me to cities lost in the Time Ahead until he landed me in shocks of joy, in the colored facades and high-rises of the Chicago World's Fair. " In Infinite Worlds, Vincent di Fate, 1997, Penguin Studio, p. 5.
Full Frank R. Paul bibliography compiled by Mr. Wu is highly recommended.
And we've got a third FRP album, 47 images. Browse it or enjoy the slideshow: