Francis Cugats Art Influence on the Jazz Age

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Francis Cugats Art Influence on the Jazz Age

Category : Articles

Being on the most eminent jacket art in history Francis Cugat??™s ???Celestial Eyes??? is without a doubt one of the most artistic covers. Little is known about the artist, Francis Cugat, who sketched this drawing for Fitzgerald??™s The Great Gatsby. Cugat was born in Spain in 1893 where he then moved to Cuba in 1903 with his family. Starting his career out as a illustrator Cugat moved up the ladder and one day made it to Hollywood where he was credited as a technical color consultant on sixty-eight films. When it came to the cover of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald had paid Cugat $100 in advance since he had liked his proposed offer. However, by the time that Cugat had finished with the cover of the novel Fitzgerald was only half way through his novel. Usually the artist conveys a theme or motif from the novel as the front cover, however in this case it was different because once the illustration was complete Fitzgerald stated that he had ???written it into??? his book.
Cugat??™s design of the illustration that he uses is an Art Deco-style gouache pair of eyes over bright lights of a city. The woman??™s face above the city has no nose, eyes with a pair of nudes being in them, a green tear, and three diamonds in what appears to be her hair which is styled in typical flapper fashion. This women??™s face in the sky is actually Daisy; symbolizing how she is Gatsby??™s dream girl while the city below symbolizes Gatsby??™s devotion to Daisy. For Gatsby every time he is reminded of the city he thinks of Daisy so he moves to the city and throws these huge elaborate parities in hope that Daisy would fall for him again.
After the end of World War I till about the Depression of 1929 America was going through a period called the Jazz Age also known as the Roaring Twenties. During this time period the rich were living it up with lavish lifestyles and endless parties and immense overconsumption while the poor remained poor. The reasons for this was that prohibition was in effect banning all liquor which is what cause all of these underground parities. Plus jazz influence had caused them to rebel against traditional culture giving birth to the flappers. Fitzgerald, in his novel, portrays the idealism of the Jazz Age in his novel; from long party scenes to illegal drunkenness of everyone. Growing up in this era himself, Fitzgerald incorporates much of his own life and real life experiences into this novel which adds to the plot of the novel. Relating back to the cover of the novel, the reader can sense that Fitzgerald accomplished this in the novel when Gatsby loses Daisy to Tom; demonstrating how what he once had was gone again and now only a dream or wish that he gets reminded of over and over again anytime he is reminded of the city.