A veritable Who’s Who straight from the top shelf of the Illustration Art Pantheon sits atop the May 14-15 Heritage Auctions Signature® event in Beverly Hills, starting with The King, Gil Elvgren and his 1950 Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration, High and Shy (estimate: $60,000+), a painting notably reproduced as figure 400 in Martignette and Meisel’s seminal Gil Elvgren: All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups, Taschen, 1999.
Two of the greatest modern illustrators are represented by vintage, peak period work: Patrick Nagel’s acrylic on canvas Mirage, 1982 (estimate $50,000+), embodies everything that made Nagel a signature artist of the 1980s and Leroy Neiman, perhaps the most influential sports artist of the 1960s and 1970s, is present in the form of his masterful 1967 acrylic on masonite Racing (estimate: $50,000+), a must for any lover of horse racing.
After Elvgren, in terms of pin-ups, there is none greater than the name of Alberto Vargas, represented in this auction with a tantalizing watercolor, Red-headed Pin-Up with Guitar (estimate: $20,000+). Following close on Vargas in the hearts of collectors is the great Enoch Bolles, available in the auction in the form of “Knots to You!,” (estimate: $30,000+) a Spicy Stories pulp cover from Dec., 1937, from The Bob and Diane Yaspan Collection.
One of the most interesting and compelling sections of the auction is The War of The Worlds Archive, 33 illustrations from the 1906 Belgian edition of the book. All the artwork is brilliantly done by Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa. The centerpiece of the collection is a pencil and ink on paperboard done for the book premier, Livre Premier: L'arrivée des Martiens (estimate: $20,000+), which also appears as the Title Page of the book.
Further highlights include, but are in no way limited to:
Chesley Bonestell, Destruction of New York by a Hydrogen Bomb, Look magazine interior story illustration, April 21, 1954: From the Bob and Diane Yaspan Collection. Estimate: $20,000+.
Norman Saungers, The Scarlet Spade (Cut for Partners), paperback cover, 1951: From the Bob and Diane Yaspan Collection. Estimate: $12,000+.
Norman Rockwell, Ford Holiday Greeting Card, preliminary illustration, 1949: Estimate: $12,000+.
Haddon Hubbard Sundblom, Girl Riding her Bicycle, Coca-Cola advertisement, 1944: From The Art of Coca-Cola. Estimate: $12,000+.
Al Hirschfeld, The Beatles: Pen and ink wash on paper. Estimate: $5,000+.