Jeffrey Catherine Jones died May 19 at the age of 67. Jones had been suffering from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart reports Robert Weiner, a friend.
Jones was once ubiquitous in the sf/fantasy field, painting over 150 book covers before 1976. Among of the best-known were the covers for the Ace paperback editions of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series, and for some of Andre Norton’s novels.
Her fine art, to which she devoted the balance of her career, earned her accolades from Frank Frazetta as “the greatest living painter.”
Jones won a World Fantasy Award in 1986. She was named a Spectrum Grandmaster by the advisory board of Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art in 2006.
Jeff Jones, as the artist was known in the Sixties, was a contributor to zines like The Burroughs Bulletin and already had moved to New York seeking pro work when she received her first Hugo nomination in the Best Fan Artist category, in 1967. She lost to Jack Gaughan, who won both the Best Fan Artist and Best Professional Artist Hugos that year (a feat that provoked a rules change). Publishers soon took notice of Jones’ talent and readers rewarded her prolific output of excellent book covers with three pro art Hugo nominations, 1970-1972.
Jones’ early artwork impressed aspiring semipro fanpublishers like Rob Gustaveson, editor of Ink Stains #17, who met Jones at the 1969 Worldcon in St. Louis:
Later I wandered into a near empty room and ran across Vaughn Bodé and Jeff Jones. And soon I helped them set up the art show room. For my reward Bodé gave me a free sketch for the help or just ’cause I asked and he was pretty nice (which later one of my friends swiped – I know who you are – give it back) and Jeff Jones did a sketch for me for $20.00! Which I cherished.
Gustaveson eventually asked George Barr to ink the Jones sketch and it became one of seven plates in the famous George Barr Folio Collaboration.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
Update 06/02/2011: Corrected identification of group giving the Spectrum Grandmaster award, which I originally misattributed as part of the Gaylactic Awards.