STANLEY MELTZOFF. "Let it Come Down." Cover for the first American paperback edition of Paul Bowles' second novel (New York: Signet, 1953). Oil on board. 584x483 mm; 23x19 inches. Professional restoration to some areas; notes in condition report.
Meltzoff's painting depicts the intrigue of Tangier in the days before Moroccan independence through the smoky sensuality of the harem woman and colorful locals in a dark café, rendered through rich tones and a tight composition. The central figure in the image is the story's protagonist, Nelson Dyar, the New York bank teller who escapes the drudgery of life in America for exotic North Africa. The artist portrays him as he appears in the beginning of Bowles' tale of corruption and decadence, still eager and optimistic, before his descent into nihilism, steadily succumbing to his darkest impulses.