Connections: Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ and Frank Frazetta

On 14 May 2012, James Gurney asked readers of his blog, Gurney Journey, if anyone could tell him what became of Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles (“The Bearers of Bad News” — or better, “The Bad News Bearers!”), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1872. Upon seeing the image of the painting that Gurney posted, artist Craig Elliott contacted him to point out that Frazetta very clearly swiped one of the fallen figures in his painting Conan the Destroyer, and a side-by-side comparison was duly incorporated into the post. And then Rafael Kayanan noted that “a similar figure based on the second fallen male on the Lecomte can be found at the bottom left of Frazetta’s kneeling Kublai [sic] Khan plate.” It was all news to me, so…

I’ve posted both comparisons below, but please note that I haven’t borrowed any images from James Gurney’s site. If you want to view Gurney’s version of the comparison suggested by Craig Elliott, click here.


Turns out, Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles, “long thought to have disappeared (and noted as such in Roger Diederen’s study on Lecomte de Nouÿ – see article in French) is in fact still held at the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs” (See Didier Rykner, “France’s Hidden Museum,” The Art Tribune,


Seeing Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ’s Les Porteurs de Mauvaises Nouvelles reminded me of two other terrific paintings on the theme of indifference in the face of death and destruction: Eugène Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) and Gustave Doré’s The Enigma (1872):



Ragged Claws Network > Connections: Frazetta and Jones

4 thoughts on “Connections: Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ and Frank Frazetta

  1. Very interesting post. There are so much artist inspired by Frazetta, it’s a little funny to see he was inspired by artists too.

  2. Well, I already knew he swiped from Hal Foster (who didn’t?) so it’s not a shock. Doesn’t detract from Frank’s genius, to my mind.

  3. As a keen artist and art lover I have always been very interested in how adamant Mrs Frazetta and Mr Frazetta were eager to dispell any talk of Frazetta creating his pieces purely from the pits of his imagination. In his documentry he clearly states he did it all instinctivly – which, as a competant artist myself I believe this to be pure rubbish. In both of Michelangelo Buanorottis biographies he also eludes in creating alot of his work from his imagination, again rubbish, models were used. One thing they both shared in common was their legacy and what people thought about them.

    To wrap my thoughts up id like to clariffy, I love the works of both artist be they 500 years appart. Frazettas inks are a work of genius and some of his paintings are masterful. Michelangelo, well just see:

    – I live in the UK and its the greatest drawing my eyes have witnessed

  4. There are many pictures of Frazetta’s wife and of Frazetta himself posing. When I see his famous self portrait I can’t help see the resemblance to his much more tanned Conan painting seemingly on top of a mound of bodies, but with the same specific pressed lip Frazetta himself has. With that I imagine Frazetta himself thought himself as Conan. He told people like Jeffrey Jones he never used the camera for his art and all these fables of him able to draw things from his mind all the time. Sure some things, but in the end you always need to look at something sometime in a painting. That said Frazetta had a lot of things in his paintings left to the imagination. I don’t like to compare Boris Vallejo, but is Boris would do his paintings (obviously not as strong as Frazetta’s) from his head I would be more impressed by that because Boris’ work is photo real while Frazetta’s is realistic at best and cartoonish sometimes. His compositions is what made him a genius and not his execution as much. Anyways Frazetta was so proud of his work he had to update his “dated” paintings in the 80’s and 90’s. Many became better, but a handful he completely destroyed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *