A grouping of prime canvases by the master of Pin-Up Art, Gil Elvgren, will anchor Heritage Auctions’ March 1-2 Illustration Art Signature® Auction, led by Elvgren’s whimsical, tongue-in-cheek 1946 Brown and Bigelow calendar illustration, “I Hope the Boys Don’t Draw Straws Tonight,” estimated at $50,000+.
The auction, which features a staggering 873 total lots, will take place at Heritage’s Beverly Hills showroom, 9478 West Olympic Boulevard.
“This is our first Illustration Art auction of 2012 and it’s shaping up to be superb,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “Just about every illustrator collectors could hope for is represented, from all genres and time periods. It’s a deep selection that should very much impress those who are passionate about the form.”
The backbone of Heritage illustration auctions over the last three years has been the epic collection from the famed Estate of Charles Martignette. That trend continues in this event, as some of the best pieces that Martignette collected have yet to surface. Included are many from the above-mentioned Elvgren grouping, as well as multiple examples from perennial illustration giants Alberto Vargas (Playboy Pin-Up, August, 1961, estimate: $8,000+), Earl Moran (Her Reflection, estimate: $7,000+), George Petty (The Kiss, estimate: $8,000+), Enoch Bolles (Ann Pennington, Film Fun magazine cover, December 1929, estimate: $10,000+), Fritz Willis (In the Studio, Brown & Bigelow Artist Sketch Book calendar, January 1967, estimate: $3,000+) and Al Buell (Blonde Pin-Up in Red Robe, estimate: $6,000+). Modern pin-up art is punctuated by a stellar work from Olivia de Berardinis, “Sweetheart,” a Playboy Pin-Up illustration from February 2009 of Burlesque star Dita Von Teese (estimate: $8,000+).
Among the very deep line-up of the pulp and paperback art highlights is a highly desirable group from the Estate of John McLaughlin. Experiences collectors will immediately recognize the name for its A+ quality. This grouping includes classic 20th century European illustrated book art, including a gorgeous Edmund Dulac watercolor (“The Prince is Taken Back to the Golden Palace By the Magic Black Horse,” Sindbad the Sailor and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights page 197 story illustration, 1914, estimate: $20,000+) though nothing epitomizes the quality of the McLaughlin Estate more than the two Margaret Brundage Weird Tales covers (Werewolf, Weird Tales pulp cover, March 1933, estimate: $50,000+ and The Blue Woman, Weird Tales pulp cover, September 1935, estimate: $50,000+) which are as rare, iconic and sought after as pulp art comes.
“We’re also offering a newly discovered Spicy Adventure Stories cover from April 1937, by the great H.J. Ward,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage Auctions, “which is estimated at $50,000+ and which features all the classic elements that has made Ward’s work so desirable.”
The Pin-Up, Paperback and Pulp art are joined by a diverse selection from the Golden Age of American Illustration, including the auction catalog cover lot, an impeccable advertising painting by the master, J.C. Leyendecker (Kuppenheimer Good Clothes (Banjo Player), House of Kuppenheimer advertisement, circa 1920, estimate: $30,000+), a classic Saturday Evening Post cover study by the greatest illustrator of them all, Norman Rockwell (The Roadblock, preliminary drawing for the Saturday Evening Post cover, July 9, 1949, estimate: $40,000+) and an excellent Amos Sewell Post Cover (Backyard Campers, Sept. 5, 1953, estimate: $10,000+). Excellent examples also abound by the likes of by Dean Cornwell, Haddon Sundblom, F.X. Leyendecker, Harvey Dunn and James Montgomery Flagg.
The auction also features a selection of pieces from famed New Yorker cartoonist and Pop Culture icon Charles Addams, including one of his most popular – and reproduced – Addams Family cartoons, Sad Movie, New Yorker magazine cartoon illustration, March 23, 1946 (estimate: $12,000+), never before offered at auction.
The market for important and beautifully rendered children’s book art has never been hotter, and the continuing auction of the Estate of Garth Williams continues to expand the market. Once of the principal Williams highlights of the auction includes one of his most beloved images, the original cover art for 1959’s The Rescuers (estimate: $3,000+).
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.