On May 25 one of the greatest romance cover artists of all time passed away at the age of 71. Italian-born Pino Daeni illustrated book covers for Italian publishers from 1960 to 1979. Classically trained in fine art, his paintings appeared in several major exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe during this time. After moving to America in 1979, he illustrated covers for most of the major NY publishers from 1980 to 1993. Known professionally by the single name of Pino, he created illustrations for over 3,000 novels. His covers were wildly popular for their freshenss, sensuality, and lush colors.
Some of the Wenches are fortunate enough to have covers done by Pino. Here's what Mary Jo Putney had to say about Pino:
"There was a time in the golden days of historical romance when having a Pino cover was news that made an author squeal and phone all her friends. He was that good, and that distinctive. Pino was Italian and loved women, and that showed in the lush, evocative way he painted them. His work could always be spotted by the beautiful fluid brushwork and marvelous colors.
"One of my books, Silk and Secrets, was set in Central Asia and featured a caravan trip across the desert to Bohkara. I made a big point with the art director that these were Bactrian camels, not Dromedaries. Two humps, not one!
"To clarify that, I sent in a photocopy of a line of Bactrians snaking across the desert. When Pino’s illustration arrived, there in the background was the image from my photocopy. He’d painted the camels in and added riders and baggage. Perfect! Not only a fine painter, but a smart painter. That original painting hangs in my living room, and I still love it. (It doesn’t hurt that the characters look fabulous!)
"His concentration on fine art in his latter years was art’s gain, romance’s loss. Fortunately, his work lives on."
Susan King also had some Pino covers:
"For the stepback of The Raven's Moon, Pino created two gorgeous paintings, one of the hero and heroine, the other of the hero on horseback. The stepback with the hero and heroine is unusual among Pino's covers, as the heroine is completely clothed in male garments; the unique pose of the hero and heroine conveys an emotional tenderness (interesting that the hero looks out, connecting with the viewer/reader). The male model was Michael O'Hearn, who was Mr. Universe that year and several years since (I once met Michael, who told me that this one was his personal favorite of the romance covers he had done, since he could proudly show it to his mother!).
"Some of my Italian translations had Pino covers, including Il cuore nella Foresta (English title, The Black Thorne's Rose). Here Pino paints what is almost a prelude to his later work–sensitive, painterly images of half-nude women seen from the back, glancing over a shoulder, caught in a vulnerable moment."
For more examples of Pino's paintings, go here.