The story behind the 1925 cover of ‘The Great Gatsby’

A number of novels have achieved popular status such as The great gatsby. First published in 1925, this classic tells the story of an enigmatic millionaire Jay Gatsby who is driven by a romantic desire to reunite with his old lover, all the while speaking in class. society, new and old currencies, and the American dream. While first and foremost, author F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for his compelling stories, the book also features one of the greatest book covers in literature. It shows the face of a masked flapper flying over a city at night.

Created by famous Spanish artist Francis Cugat, this gouache painting appears to capture the essence of Fitzgerald’s book, although the artist is given a synopsis and work title rather than the drawing. Although the author did not see the final cover before publication, Fitzgerald received some early photographs of Cugat’s design and was so pleased with the image that he told his editor that he returned to the manuscript to seal the cover into the book.

Scroll down to learn more about the creator of the cover The great gatsbyand how it affected the final revisions to Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

What is The great gatsby?

The Great Gatsby Cover from 1925

A reproduction of the first edition cover art for “The Great Gatsby,” 1925. Cover art by Francis Cugat. Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Published in 1925, The great gatsby is the most famous novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940). It tells the story of a “new money” millionaire named Jay Gatsby who longs to be reunited with a wealthy married woman, Daisy Buchanan—as viewed through the first impression of the sad storyteller, Nick Carraway.

Portraits of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King

Left: Publicity portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald, c. 1921 (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
Right: Photograph of United States President and heir Ginevra King, 1918 (Photo: Arnold Genthe via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

The plot of the story was inspired by Fitzgerald’s own life and the short love he had with an American actress Ginevra King. Although he loved her dearly, their relationship broke down when King’s family discovered that the young writer had no money. This was the beginning of Fitzgerald’s path into the United States Army and his desire to become rich and famous upon his return. They are like the life of Jay Gatsby.

Today, the novel remains an American legend for its views on wealth, class, and the American dream.

Who made the cover for The great gatsby?

Francis Cugat Photo

Photograph of Francis Cugat, the artist behind the 1925 cover of “The Great Gatsby,” 1918. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

After a year of short stories and false starts, Fitzgerald began work on the manuscript of The Great Gatsby in 1924. This time, his publisher, Charles Scribner’s Sons, sought to an artist to create a cover for an upcoming book. They found a small artist called from Barcelona Francis Cugat (1893–1981), who painted portraits of actors and actresses.

Cugat found a summary of the book and the work title “Between Ash Heaps and Millionaires” and began to create different images inspired by these things. These early photos show the face of a flapper suspended over New York City.

After several revisions, Cugate completed the final cover in gouache, including dubbing. Sky Eye Many thanks from the publisher. In fact, it remains one of the most popular covers in literature.

Effort for Sky Eye

The Adventures of Gatsby

Original painting by Francis Cugat for the first edition of “The Great Gatsby,” 1925 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Cugat’s painting Sky Eye depicting a bright, yellow-pink New York City overshadowed by a solid blue sky where the perfumer’s eye gazes directly at the viewer. In the irises of his eyes are made figures of naked women, and above his forehead is a small figure of a head helper.

Although Cugat did not read a copy of The Great Gatsby before working on this piece, he was told of the great idea and given the working title. He wanted to include the essence of New York, which can be seen in the country below, and a vision of 1920s glamor in the eyes of a woman.

Influences Fitzgerald’s writing

The Adventures of Gatsby

First print dust jacket of “The Great Gatsby,” 1925 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Fitzgerald had the first sketches of Sky Eye while he was working on the manuscipt of The great gatsby. He was so pleased with the picture that he decided to edit his manuscript to include it in the book, as stated in his letters to his editor.

Although there is no consensus on which parts of the book are directly affected by Cugat’s cover, there are some theories. One of the most popular interpretations is the appearance of the cover showing the interpretation of the bulletin board of optometrist TJ Eckleburg, a sentiment shared by fellow writer Ernest Hemingway. Additionally, the description of Daisy as “the girl whose face floats in black patches and blind spots” from the book is linked to the cover version.

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