Auctions | January 7, 2015

Children&#8217;s Book Illustration & <i>New Yorker</i> Cartoons Among Highlights at Swann Galleries


New York—Swann Galleries’ 2015 Illustration Art auction, to be held on January 22, features fresh-to-market works by famous illustrators, cartoonists, commercial artists and children’s book creators. 

Among the beloved children’s book illustrations are a gouache, pen and ink drawing of Ludwig Bemelmans's sassy heroine Madeline (estimate $4,000 to $6,000); Garth Williams’s iconic spider web used as the endpapers for Charlotte's Web, pen and ink with pencil and wash, circa 1952 ($10,000 to $15,000) and his original endpaper drawing for Stuart Little, also pen and ink with pencil and wash ($15,000 to $25,000); and two classic watercolor and pencil illustrations by Maginel Wright Enright Barney—sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright—who is credited with revolutionizing the quality of illustration in children’s readers.

Works by popular contemporary illustrators include Gennady Spirin’s magical works of art for The Frog Princess, watercolor, tempera, and pencil on paper, 1994 ($10,000 to $15,000) and two for a retelling of the Russian folk-tale The Sea King's Daughter, 1997, a Russian party scene ($10,000 to $15,000) and a portrait of the daughter in watercolor ($8,000 to $12,000).

Appearing at auction for the first time are examples by Marilee Heyer, Jane Breskin Zalben and Daniel Andreasen of the wildly popular American Girl series.

For the first time, the auction offers a large and varied offering of advertising art with mid-century examples by James Neil Boyle, Phil Hays and Bob Peak; as well as fashion, printing company and beverage ads including a recently discovered group of Royal Crown Cola mock-ups, among them a signed Frederick Sands Brunner canvas.


Also making their auction debut are James McMullan’s designs for Lincoln Center posters. McMullan’s work has appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, Time and New York Magazine, and since 1986 he has been the exclusive poster designer for the Lincoln Center Theater—designing more than 50 of them. Among his designs are watercolors on paper with hand-lettered acetate overlays for Dinner at Eight, 2002 ($6,000 to $9,000) and King Lear, starring Christopher Plummer, 2004 ($4,000 to $6,000).

There is a newly recorded cartoon by Charles Addams, Play It Again, Sam, ink and watercolor on board, circa late 1960s to early 1970s, which will be included in the artist’s Catalogue Raisonné, that was a gift to a designer at Doubleday ($2,500 to $3,500); as well as a pen and ink drawing of an Addams Family Christmas Tree, created for a friend’s 1979 holiday card ($2,500 to $3,500).

A varied and amusing assortment of New Yorker magazine cartoons includes Saul Steinberg’s Equivalent of 8, pen and ink and collage on paper ($3,500 to $5,000); a pair by Whitney Darrow Jr., both  charcoal and watercolor on board ($1,000 to $2,000); Peter Arno’s risqué We've Lost Our Tour, pen, ink and wash on paper, 1953 ($1,500 to $2,500); and Ed Sorel’s Election 1998, pen and ink and watercolor on paper, a variant of his cover for the November 11, 1996 issue ($1,000 to $1,500).

There are also proposed New Yorker covers by Mischa Richter and a set of three by Max Rée in charming Art Deco style. Although none of these were realized as magazine covers, Rée’s artwork did grace the cover of the New Yorker four times in 1925 ($400 to $600 for the set). 

Among examples by a-list illustrators are two pen and ink drawings by Aubrey Beardsley for The Bon-Mots of Samuel Foote and Theodore Hook, 1894 ($1,200 to $1,800 each); Howard Chandler Christy’s “The farmer crossed the plowed strip to Saxon, and joined her on the rail,” ink, watercolor, and gouache on board, drawn for the first appearance of Jack London's novel The Valley of the Moon in Cosmopolitan Magazine, September 1913 ($5,000 to $7,500); Rockwell Kent’s frontispiece from the Lakeside Press Moby Dick, pen and ink, 1930 ($4,000 to $6,000); Arthur Rackham’s The Woman Who Knew Magic, watercolor, an unused illustration for Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, 1932 ($10,000 to $15,000); and works by James Montgomery Flagg, Edward Gorey, Joseph Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell, Arthur Szyk and Gerda Wegener.     

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 22. The illustrations will be on public exhibition Saturday, January 17 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, January 20 and Wednesday, January 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, January 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.         

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at             

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Christine von der Linn at (212) 254-4710, extension 20,; or John D. Larson at (212) 254-4710, extension 61,             

Live online bidding is available via Invaluable. Click on the Invaluable link on the homepage.

First image: Garth Williams, spider web used as the endpapers for Charlotte's Web, pen and ink with pencil and wash, circa 1952 (estimate: $10,000 to $15,000).

Second image: James McMullan, design of Lincoln Center Theater's production of King Lear, watercolor  with acetate overlays hand-lettered in gouache, 2004 (estimate: $4,000 to $6,000).