Literary Illustrations from Children’s Classics Shine in Illustration Art at Swann July 16

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • July 02, 2020

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Hilary Knight, Eloise with Valentine, variation of the image titled Sweet Heart in the book The 365 Days of Eloise: My Book of Holidays by Knight and Kay Thompson, 2015. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.

New York—Swann Galleries’ Thursday, July 16 sale of Illustration Art is set to feature a standout offering of works from literary classics, magazine story illustrations, original advertising designs, as well as vintage and contemporary New Yorker art.

Original illustrations by enduring favorites lead a section of the auction dedicated to children’s literature. Among the cherished characters featured are Laurent de Brunhoff’s Babar as he and his family take in the Notre Dame Cathedral, published in Babar’s World Tour, 2005 ($10,000-15,000); a 2014 Valentine illustration of Hilary Knight’s Eloise ($25,000-35,000); a group of six 1982 pencil studies of Max and the monsters from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are ($20,000-30,000); three ink studies of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad published in Frog and Toad Together, 1972 ($5,000-7,500); and Ludwig Bemelmans’ charming watercolor portrait of Madeline ($4,000-6,000).

Additional children’s book highlights include a small run of works by William Pène du Bois, with notable lots featuring a group of 27 watercolor and mixed-media drawings from The Hare and the Tortoise and The Tortoise and the Hare, 1972 ($4,000-6,000). A colorful collage, ink and gouache of Black Cat by Eric Carle from his 1973 classic Have You Seen My Cat? is set to come across the block ($6,000-9,000); as well as Peter Newell’s illustration Beau—ootiful Soo---oop!, 1903, published in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark and Other Poems and Verses ($6,000-9,000). A run of works by contemporary illustrators Allan Neuwirth and Jane Breskin Zalben rounds out the section.

A wide-ranging section of literary and magazine illustrations is led by N.C. Wyeth’s original 1916 title-page artwork for The Black Arrow. A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson ($150,000-250,000). The iconic work is offered alongside material by other giants from the Golden Age of Illustration, particularly those from the Brandywine School, including Wyeth’s mentor, Howard Pyle, with the oil-on-canvas frontispiece for Landegon by W.G. Beymer, published in Harper’s Monthly Magazine in November, 1909 ($20,000-30,000), and a likely preliminary study for Century Illustrated Magazine, circa 1905, by Violet Oakley ($4,000-6,000). A run of magazine illustrations contains a number of pieces for The Saturday Evening Post by Stevan Dohanos, as well as the Mexican caricaturist and cartoonist Arias Bernal. 

N.C. Wyeth, The Black Arrow. A Tale of the Two Roses, original title-page illustration for the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1916. Estimate $150,000 to $250,000.

Advertising and design is represented with a rare-to-market original by Leslie Ragan, circa 1930, likely executed for the back of a calendar ($4,000-6,000); a circa 1928 postcard design starring George Studdy’s beloved Bonzo the Dog ($1,000-1,500); and a quirky shoe advertisement by Gottfried Sieben created before 1918 ($1,500-2,500).

A range of costume and set designs for theater include works by Erté with Couleurs / Le Trapéziste, a 1970 costume design ($6,000-9,000), and Décore de Laideronnette, a 1949 set design ($5,000-7,500). And, lively cast illustrations for the 1974 Off-Broadway sensation The Great MacDaddy, and the 1940 Broadway revival of Charley’s Aunt by Al Hirschfeld, featuring African-American and Latinx actors stands-out in the theater section ($10,000-15,000 and $20,000-30,000, respectively).

The ever-popular New Yorker section encompasses works by iconic cover artists, such as Arthur Getz with Basketball Game, published February 5, 1966 issue, and Rooftop Party, published September 5, 1970 ($2,000-3,000, each), and Garrett Price’s June 3, 1950 featuring Mason’s Island in Mystic Connecticut ($1,200-1,800). Recent cover art features George Booth’s Bite the Bullet, published April 19, 1993 ($1,500-2,500), and Danny Shanahan’s High Rise, published March 7, 2016 ($2,500-3,500). Time-honored cartoonists Lee Lorenz and Frank Modell are offered alongside current contributors, such as Bob Eckstein, Ben Schwartz and P.C. Vey.

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available from July 13 through July 15, to be scheduled directly with the specialist in advance and conforming to strict safety guidelines. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with the specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App.


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