Frank Kalan

frank kalan
Frank Kalan

A Harlequin Legend

Artist Frank Kalan was one of Harlequin’s biggest cover illustrators. He was a prolific artist, producing two covers a month at his peak.

rumor has it
Rumor Has It, Celia Scott, Harlequin, 1990

Life and Early Work

Frank Kalan was born in Ely, Minnesota, in 1922. He decided to pursue illustration in Chicago where he studied at the American Academy of Art. Soon after, he got his professional start working as an apprentice to the legendary pinup artist, Al Buell. 

Like most men of his generation, Kalan served in World War II. Upon his return to Chicago, he worked for a variety of clients including the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Brown & Bigelow, and Playboy, under the direction of another noted artist, Art Paul. 

After a short stint in Atlanta, Frank moved to NYC where he worked in the advertising field for Fredman/Chaite Studios.

Among his colleagues were Frank McCarthy, Robert McGinnis, Bob Peak, and Jack Thurston. Clients included Chesterfield Cigarettes, Norelco, and Coca-Cola, for which he did several projects among them a series of paintings exhibited at the 1964 – 65 World’s Fair in Flushing Queens, New York. 

Frank Kalan ad for Coca-Cola
Frank Kalan ad for Coca-Cola

Book Cover Artist

Eventually, Kalan branched into book cover paintings that he would produce in oils. Like many other illustrators of romance covers, he started in pulp genres.

Meet Me at the Morgue, Jack Ross Macdonald, Pocket Books
Meet Me at the Morgue, Jack Ross Macdonald, Pocket Books

His early clients in romance included Pyramid Books, Avon Publishers, and Ballantine. Contrary to his later, more “wholesome” images he would create, these were true bodice ripper clinch covers.

In the mid-’70s one of the art directors at Harlequin was looking for additional artists, and fellow cover artist Lenny Goldberg, a friend of his, introduced Kalan into the fold.

He would spend the next three decades producing romance novel cover art for Harlequin Enterprises.

Kalan’s covers would have a wholesome aura around them, as he mostly produced work for the Harlequin Romance line which was low on the sensuality scale. His art placed the hero and heroine center stage, and his soft brush strokes made for a memorable style.  

Frank Kalan passed away in 2003.

moon lady kalan
Moon Lady, Jane Donnelly, Harlequin

The Legend Lives On

His family keeps his name and memory alive through a treasured collection of his artwork.

In 2017, they donated 130 covers and supporting materials to the Browne Popular Culture Library at BGSU in Ohio, which is now called The Frank Kalan Romance Cover Art Collection.

Frank Kalan Covers

The chart below lists just some of the many covers that Kalan illustrated for Harlequin. (List courtesy of Bowling Green State University )

A Husband Made in TexasCarter, Rosemary1997
A Killing in Quail CountyCole, Jameson1997
A Lake in KyotoLewty, Marjorie1985
A Man UntamedArthur, Katherine1990
A Most Determined BachelorMacgregor, Miriam1998
A Place Called RambularaWay, Margaret1984
A Rooted SorrowWest, Nicola1985
A Second LovingJameson, Claudia1989
A Time To GrowJameson, Claudia1985
A Warning of MagicKingston, Kate1993
Always ChristmasRutland, Eva1992
Amaryllis DreamingHarvey, Samantha1985
Bittersweet HoneymoonLewty, Marjorie1988
Bluebells On The HillMcMahon, Barbara1986
Breaking the IceGregory, Kay1990
Brides for BrothersMacomber, Debbie1985
Call Back The PastMacLeod, Jean1988
Call of the MountainMacGregor, Miriam1986
Charlie’s DadScott, Alexandra1997
Christmas AngelBeverly, Jo1993
Colours of LoveHenaghan, Rosalie1993
ContrastsKirby, Rowan1986
Daddy’s Little HelperMacomber, Debbie1995
Deck The HallsAllison, Heather1990
Denial of LoveKemp, Shirley1992
Desert RoseMay, Wynne1993
Distant ShadowsYork, Alison1992
Every Kind of HeavenCampbell, Bethany1991
Family SecretsMichaels, Leigh1994
Fiance for ChristmasGeorge, Catherine1998
Firm CommitmentDenton, Kate1991
Flirtation RiverCampbell, Bethany1988
Force FieldDonnelly, Jane1986
Foreign AffairRutland, Eva1992
Forgive And ForgetSinclair, Tracy1987
Found: One FatherWaverly, Shannon1996
From This Day ForwardMarton, Sandra1985
Frozen EnchantmentSteele, Jessica1989
Fully InvolvedWinters, Rebecca1990
Greek Island MagicBevan, Gloria1984
He Was The StrangerStrutt, Sheila1986
Heart of MarbleDawson, Helena1988
Hijacked HoneymoonLennox, Marion1997
Hitched: A Ranch, a Ring and EverythingDaniels, Val1996
Home For ChristmasJames, Ellen1993
House of MirrorsWhittal, Yvonne1983
Impossible InheritanceMurray, Annabel1990
In Pursuit of LoveBauling, Jayne1995
Island of LoveHammond, Rosemary1992
Ivy’s LeagueAllison, Heather1993
Jungle AntagonistGair, Diana1982
Lake Haupiri MoonMoore, Mary1983
Last Chance MarriageGibson, Rosemary1997
Legacy of ShadowsLennox, Marion1994
Living Next Door to AlexGeorge, Catherine1996
Love Comes StealingScott, Alexandra1983
Love Is the AnswerHammond, Rosemary1993
Love or MoneyHart, Virginia1991
Love’s HarborJames, Ellen1991
MaelstromCooper, Ann1984
Mail-Order BridegroomLeclaire, Day1994
Man of StoneRoding, Frances1987
Master of NamangillaDaveson, Mons1990
Moreton’s KingdomMacLeod, Jean1982
New DiscoveryAyre, Jessica1984
New Lease on LoveWaverly, Shannon1991
Night Of The Spring MoonHart, Virginia1987
No Going BackHoward, Stephanie1993
No Love in ReturnBarnes, Elizabeth1989
No TiesGibson, Rosemary1995
Not Part of the BargainFox, Susan1989
Once for All TimeNeels, Betty1984
Once Upon A WeddingRiggs, Paula Detmer1993
One Reckless MomentAllan, Jeanne1988
Only A WomanCampbell, Bethany1988
Only My DreamsKirby, Rowan1987
Outback BrideHart, Jessica1996
Passion’s VineGraham, Elizabeth1985
Place For The HeartLeigh, Catherine1989
Playing for KeepsHammond, Rosemary1994
Preview of ParadiseSinclair, Tracy1986
Ready for RomanceMacomber, Debbie1993
Red Hot PepperDenny, Roz1990
Ride a Wild HorseDonnelly, Jane1985
Rites of LoveWinters, Rebecca1990
Road to LoveArthur, Katherine1986
Season of ForgetfulnessSummers, Essie1983
Secret FireWinspear, Violet1984
Secret WeddingRichmond, Emma1996
Send in the ClownKnoll, Patricia1989
Send Me No FlowersArthur, Katherine1987
Separate LivesJantz, Caroline1986
Shadow of a TigerDonnelly, Jane1993
Sight of a StrangerField, Sandra1981
Silver BellsDaniels, Val1990
Stone AngelBrooks, Helen1992
Strictly BusinessMichaels, Leigh1986
Sweet VixenNapier, Susan1983
Taming a HusbandWallington, Vivienne1996
Tarik’s MountainJanes, Dana1987
Temporary ArrangementWaverly, Shannon1993
Temporary ParagonGoldrick, Emma1986
That Man From TexasWilder, Quinn1985
The Apollo ManMacLeod, Jean1987
The Chain of DestinyNeels, Betty1988
The Cinderella CoachDenny, Roz1992
The Diamond TrapCampbell, Bethany1988
The Games People PlayHadley, Liza1989
The Heron QuestLamb, Charlotte1986
The Long Way HomeCampbell, Bethany1987
The Matchmaking DepartmentMcKeone, Dixie1985
The Only SolutionMichaels, Leigh1994
The Passion and The PainAbsalom, Stacy1984
The Real FantasyAnderson, Caroline1996
The Santa SleuthAllison, Heather1993
The Singing TreeWeale, Anne1992
The Tiger’s CageWay, Margaret1996
The Turn of the TideDay, Samantha1984
Tidal WaveMacLeod, Jean1990
Trouble in ParadiseGreen, Grace1996
Turquoise HeartJames, Ellen1990
Valley of GentiansRome, Margaret1982
Verdict: ParenthoodMcBride, Julie1997
Walk Into TomorrowCarter, Rosemary1985
Web of FateDawson, Helena1991
Wild For To HoldMurray, Annabel1985
WildtrackWest, Nicola1983
Winter Stranger, Summer LoverMcMahon, Barbara1986
Winter SunlightAlexander, Susan1986