January 2014 | Nate Pedersen

All It Needs Is Holly Sugar

Today's sale in 20th Century Illustration over at Swann Galleries will include a signed advertisement by Theodore Geisel. (Lot 223). If the ad has an air of familiarity, it's probably because you know Geisel by his pen name: Dr. Seuss.

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Seuss created the advertisement sometime in the early 1950s at the height of his career. It's one of several drawn by Seuss for Holly Sugar, a company that has since been absorbed into Imperial Sugar. The illustration was likely intended for a billboard advertisement. (As an interesting aside, Swann notes that Seuss actually lobbied for the boycotting of billboards in his hometown of La Jolla, California around the same time. Seuss subsequently cut his ties with Holly Sugar.)

Swann estimates the advertisement will sell for $30,000 - $40,000.

Today's sale also includes a pen-and-ink drawing on card of one of Seuss's famous advertisements for Flit Insecticide. (Lot 226; Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000). Seuss received his first big break from Flit Insecticide, who initially commissioned him in 1928, when Seuss was 24 years old.  Seuss's insecticide series continued sporadically until 1941.  The example at auction is from 1938.  Flit Insecticide - once a household staple - was produced by Standard Oil (now part of Exxon), and discontinued after its 5% DDT content fell out of favor.

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