Cover illustration for Ortog et les ténèbres (Ortog and the Shadows) by Kurt Steiner, Fleuve Noir, 1969

Gaston de Sainte-Croix is another of the many prolific illustrators about whom we know almost nothing beyond the work that bears their name. It is just possible that it is a pseudonym; he has been linked with other names of artists we know are nom-de-plumes, including Xavier Saint-Just and Georges Neczpal. It is said that he was a friend of the illustrator Rojan, though it was almost impossible within the world of erotic illustration not to know the great Rojankovsky.

Sainte-Croix’s main claim to posterity is the more than three hundred cover illustrations he created for paperback science fiction titles between 1965 and 1973, mostly for the publisher Fleuve Noir. From Année 500,000 (The Year 500,000) to Le Zor-Co de fer (The Iron Zor-Co), he was a master of SF art, and would have loved Star Wars if he had been a generation younger.

Long before his career in futuristic art, however, his colourful style appeared in the illustrations to a couple of period erotic classics, Le journal d’une femme de chambre (A Chambermaid’s Diary) and Les égarements de Julie (Julie’s Distractions), then nearly a decade later he appears again as a very competent creator of detailed pencil drawings for editions of Nous deux (Us Two) and Clayton’s College, both of which portfolios were reproduced in the late 1990s by the Erotic Print Society.

Example illustration