Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961 was a poet, author and artist. It seems almost obligatory to note that he, along with Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard were the three top writers for Weird Tales during it’s peak period. Frankly, I think Smith writes better than either of the other two, and is lesser known today because he never made that one big creative breakthrough that produced a Conan or Cthulhu. But his “The Dweller in the Gulf” sits comfortably on my top ten list of horror stories, where no Howard story has ever come close. I’m not a fan of his poetry, but I have never warmed to poetry in general; I find Lovecraft’s verse completely unreadable, a medium where his pomposity and pretentiousness run wild.
Smith also painted and sculpted. I am not impressed with his work, though some of his sculptures capture a certain weird power. For the most part, though, I find his drawings amateurish. Lovecraft, however, was a friend and a fan, mentioning Smith in the same breath as Sidney Sime and Gustav Doré, and this series is not about my favorite artists, but about artists that have a relationship to HPL and his work. . Smith, being a contemporary, a friend, a correspondent, and a fellow weird fiction writer who made his own numerous contributions to Lovecraft’s evolving “mythos,” has the greatest claim to that description. August Dereleth used Smith’s statues on the cover of the second HPL Arkham book, Beyond the Wall of Sleep and Others.
All the artwork here is taken from the incredibly comprehensive website devoted to Smith, The Eldritch Dark, an excellent site devoted to all of CAS’s work. There are pages and pages of his art, biographical details, bibliographies, and links to all other kinds of related stuff, If you’re a fan of weird fiction, you owe it to yourself to bookmark this page and explore it in depth. I looked for a name of the website author and couldn’t find one. Whoever it is, he or she has done a fantastic job.