Tuesday, February 4, 2014

C.C. Senf (1873-1949)-Part 3

C.C. Senf created his first cover for Weird Tales in March 1927 and his last in September 1932. In that five-and-a-half-year period, Senf (forty-five covers), Hugh Rankin (fifteen covers), and C. Barker Petrie, Jr., (one cover) were the sole cover artists for "The Unique Magazine." By my count, Senf also contributed interior illustrations to thirty-four issues of Weird Tales from April 1927 to June 1932.

C.C. Senf turned fifty-nine in 1932. That seems too young for retirement, yet his cover for the September issue of Weird Tales was evidently his last credit in the field of science fiction and fantasy. (The Internet Speculative Fiction Database lists only his illustrations for Weird Tales and no other.) I don't know of any other credits for him, and I have not found anything in the Chicago Tribune. That seems a shame to me. In any case, Senf lived another seventeen years. His death came on April 24, 1949, in Chicago. Curtis C. Senf was buried in Memorial Park in Skokie, Illinois, with his wife.

C.C. Senf's Cover Illustrations for Weird Tales
Mar. 1927, "The City of Glass" by Joel Martin Nichols, Jr.
Apr. 1927, "Explorers Into Infinity" by Ray Cummings
May 1927, "The Master of Doom" by Donald Keyhoe
June 1927, "A Suitor from the Shades" by Greye La Spins
July 1927, "The Return of the Master" by H. Warner Munn
Sept. 1927, "The Wolf-Woman" by Bassett Morgan
Oct. 1927, "The Dark Lore" by Nictzin Dyalhis
Nov. 1927, "The Invading Horde" by Arthur J. Burks
Jan. 1928, "The Gods of East and West" by Seabury Quinn
Feb. 1928, "The Ghost Table" by Elliot O'Donnell
Mar. 1928, "The Strange People" by Murray Leinster
Apr. 1928, "The Jewel of the Seven Stones" by Seabury Quinn
May 1928, "The Bat-Men of Thorium" by Bertram Russell
June 1928, "The Devil's Martyr" by Signe Toksvig
July 1928, "The Witches' Sabbath" by Stephen Bagby
Aug. 1928, "Red Shadows" by Robert E. Howard
Sept. 1928, "The Devil-Plant" by John Murray Reynolds
Oct. 1928, "The Werewolfs Daughter" by H. Warner Munn
Nov. 1928, "The Mystery in Acatlan" by Rachael Marshall and Maverick Terrill
Jan. 1929, "The Black Master" by Seabury Quinn
Mar. 1929, "The People of Pan" by Henry S. Whitehead
May 1929, "The Scourge of B'Moth" by Bertram Russell
July 1929, "The Corpse-Master" by Seabury Quinn
Sept. 1929, "The White Wizard" by Sophie Wenzel Ellis
Nov. 1929, "The Gray Killer" by Everil Worrell
Jan. 1930, "The Curse of the House of Phipps" by Seabury Quinn
Mar. 1930, "The Drums of Dumballah" by Seabury Quinn
May 1930, "The Brain-Thief' by Seabury Quinn
July 1930, "The Bride of Dewer" by Seabury Quinn
Sept. 1930, "The Invisible Bond" by Arlton Eadie
Nov. 1930, "A Million Years After" by Katherine Metcalf Roof
Jan. 1931, "The Lost Lady" by Seabury Quinn
Apr.-May 1931, "The Dust of Death" by Hugh Jeffries
June-July 1931, "Tam, Son of the Tiger" by Otis Adelbert Kline
Aug. 1931, "Tam, Son of the Tiger" by Otis Adelbert Kline
Sept. 1931, "Tam, Son of the Tiger" by Otis Adelbert Kline
Oct. 1931, "Tam, Son of the Tiger" by Otis Adelbert Kline
Nov. 1931, "Placide's Wife" by Kirk Mashburn
Dec. 1931, "The Dark Man" by Robert E. Howard
Jan. 1932, "The Monster of the Prophecy" by Clark Ashton Smith
Feb. 1932, "The Devil's Bride" by Seabury Quinn
Mar. 1932, "The Vengeance of Ixmal" by Kirk Mashburn
Apr. 1932, "The Red Witch" by Nictzin Dyalhis
May 1932, "The Brotherhood of Blood" by Hugh B. Cave
Sept. 1932, "The Phantom Hand" by Victor Rousseau
(Source: The Collector's Index to Weird Tales by Sheldon R. Jaffery and Fred Cook, 1985)

Interior Illustrations
Apr. 1927, "Explorers Into Infinity" part 1 by Ray Cummings
May 1927
June 1927
July 1927
Mar. 1929
Apr. 1929
May 1929
July 1929
Aug. 1929
Sept. 1929
Oct. 1929
Nov. 1929
Jan. 1930
Mar. 1930
Apr. 1930
May 1930
July 1930
Aug. 1930
Sept. 1930
Oct. 1930
Nov. 1930
Jan. 1931
Feb.-Mar. 1931
Apr.-May 1931
June-July 1931
Aug. 1931
Sept. 1931
Oct. 1931
Nov. 1931
Dec. 1931
Jan. 1932
Mar. 1932
Apr. 1932
June 1932, "Birch Trees" (poem) by Marvin Luter Hill

Further Reading
Field Guide To Wild American Pulp Artists by David Saunders.

C.C. Senf's first cover for Weird Tales, March 1927.
And his last, September 1932. Note the difference in style, from a somewhat antiquated style, like a nineteenth-century fairy tale, to a more contemporary style, like a 1930s movie magazine or love pulp.
A few days ago I wrote about swipes. Well sometimes an artist swipes from himself. The top image is from January 1932. Just five months later, Weird Tales treated its readers to an almost identical composition.
I have been harping on Senf's old-fashioned style. This cover (May 1928) is old-fashioned in its way, but it's still effective. The woman is a little stiff, considering what is being done to her, but the monsters are good, that is to say, bad. They remind me of Ray Harryhausen's animated creatures. 
Believe it or not, this picture was drawn by a fifty-seven-year-old and probably a respected man in his neighborhood, yet it has a primitive power and a certain unseemliness that doesn't quite fit the artist. This cover came along at about the beginning of the weird menace craze. It has all that and more: bondage, torture, a scantily clad woman, a reaching hand, a pistol shot ringing out, a green ghoul, and a bald-headed guy with mean eyes and a meaner whip. Snoopy could write a novel about a picture like this. In any case, Senf's technique had changed in the four years he had been creating covers for Weird Tales. There is less fussiness and more pulpishness. The hero's hand looks good, and the figure of the woman is beautifully done. I have begun to see that Senf was good with female form, face, and hair.
Here is an odd composition by C.C. Senf. It reminds me of a Biblical epic from the early days of Hollywood. Intolerance (1916) might be the movie I'm thinking of. I call it odd, but I have to say it works.
In comparison, here's an illustration by Hugh Rankin from December 1927. Another odd composition, but still a workable picture. C.C. Senf (1873-1949) and Hugh Rankin (1878-1956) were close to the same age, yet they could hardly have been different as artists. Senf was of course born in Germany and worked in a European or nineteenth-century style and technique. Rankin on the other hand was American and very modern. He first worked as a cartoonist and newspaper artist. In that capacity, he would have been forced to reduce things to their essences. As an illustrator, he seems to have been influenced by the art nouveau and art deco styles. The lettering on the cover looks like his hand lettering. Rankin was the son of an artist. His mother was Ellen Rankin Copp, a sculptress and a student of Lorado Taft at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1888-1890. It seems pretty likely to me that Senf and Rankin would have been acquainted before they worked for Weird Tales. But there are certain things we will probably never know.

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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