June 2016 | Rebecca Rego Barry

359 Drawings from "Shrek" Author William Steig at Auction

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 3.41.51 PM.pngAuthor/illustrator William Steig (1907-2003) is perhaps best known as the author of Shrek! (1990), which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film series. But he contained multitudes--the Brooklyn-born artist dubbed the "King of Cartoons" drew more than 100 covers and countless drawings for the New Yorker magazine over seven decades. In the late sixties, while still working for the magazine, he began writing children's books. His third book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1969) won the Caldecott Medal in 1970, and his Doctor De Soto (1982) split the 1983 National Book Award with Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius.

In 2013, the University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections acquired a "treasure trove" of Steig's work from his widow, Jeanne. As Lynne Farrington, the Kislak curator, said at the time, "[Steig] was far more than just a New Yorker artist, and far more than just a children's author ... He was doing all kinds of things and he lived a very long life." An exhibition, As the Ink Flows: Works from the Pen of William Steig, followed in 2014.

Now, another such archive of Steig's prolific work will cross the auction blog. On June 14, Sotheby's New York will offer a collection of 359 pen-and-ink, wash, and watercolor drawings on paper assembled by the artist's son Jeremy Steig. It includes magazine cover art, unpublished work, and original illustrations for Caleb and Kate (1986) and The Zabajaba Jungle (1991). The auction estimate is $150,000-200,000.

Jeremy, a noted jazz musician, died this past April. His collection, a combination of gifts from his father as well as purchased pieces, has been in Japan where he lived and has never been exhibited publicly, according to Sotheby's.

Image via Sotheby's.