Gil Elvgren’s unquestioned reign as the greatest and most popular pin-up artist of all time continued on June 27 in Beverly Hills at Heritage Auctions’ $2.77+ million Illustration Art Signature® Auction, as his masterful Skirting the Issue (Breezing Up), 1956 brought $176,500 to lead the day. The painting came out of the Estate of Charles Martignette, which continues to produce spectacular results across the board. All prices include Buyer’s Premium.
“Elvgren and Martignette continue to be the gold standard of not just pin-up art, but of illustration art in general,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “In fact, fully six of the Top 10 lots in the auction were Elvgrens, several of which – outside of the top lot – also came from Martignette.”
The five other Elvgrens in the auctions’ top tier consisted of The Wrong Nail, 1967 (realized: $146,500), Up in the Air (Whooooooosh!), 1965 (realized: $86,500), American Beauties (I Hope He Mrs. Me), 1949 (realized: $68,500), Surprised?, 1952 (realized: $43,750) and This Doesn't Seem to Keep the Chap from My Lips, 1948 (realized: $40,625).
The June 27 event also saw the second part of the Jerry Weist Collection of sci-fi art perform very well with collectors as Wally Wood’s 1953 Mars is Heaven! complete 8-page story, Weird Science #18 (EC Comics), one of the most revered EC adaptations of Ray Bradbury’s prose, brought $54,688. Michael Whelan’s 1990 Descent, The Martian Chronicles cover realized $37,500 to further bolster both the artist’s reputation and the Weist pedigree.
“The response to Jerry’s collection continues to be tremendous,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President at Heritage. “It’s gratifying to see his incredible eye for art being recognized. His collection went very deep and collectors are jumping at the chance to get a piece of it.”
Alberto Vargas is always a top draw in Heritage Illustration Art auctions, and the June 27 event proved no exception to the rule as his 1940s watercolor Glamour Pin-Up brought $50,000, while the exquisite talent of Al Buell continues to rise in the estimation of collectors with his bright, dazzling circa 1940s Brunette Pin-Up brought $32,500, a record price for the artist. All told, the auction achieved a stellar 97% sell-through rate.
Heritage Auctions is far and away the largest auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com