JACK D. HUNTER – ORIGINAL PAINTING – FEATURING AMERICAN SALMSON SAL 2-A-2
The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite “Jack” stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. His more commonly-seen artwork was larger, while he occasionally produced a smaller size. Today we are offering the larger painting, which measures 19 ½” x 24 ½” within its frame. The simple, elegant, black, molded frame is accented by an inner, gold trim band, with a single, blue matte providing a subtle contrast.
The subject of the painting is a French-built Salmson SAL 2-A-2, flown by a U.S. Army Air Service crew. With the USA’s late entry into WW I, the bulk of the flown airplanes were either British or French-manufactured. Such was the case with the Salmson SAL 2-A-2. About 3,200 planes were built. They first came into service in 1917, and were the primary two-seaters used by the French Army during the WW I’s final years.
In the painting’s action, the Americans are in full battle with a pair of Albatros D. Va’s. The Salmson’s gunner is shown with his twin machine guns blazing. If you look closely enough, you can see the shell casings are flying. One of the Albatros’s is smoking as it descends. Bits and pieces of it are trailing back. The other D. Va is flying nearby.
Jack Hunter’s signature appears in the lower right corner. On the reverse is a typewritten description of the action, which is also signed by Jack Hunter.