Hot Illustration Art

Heritage will hold its Signature Illustration Art Auction in Beverly Hills on Friday, February 11-12 (two sessions). The lovely Garth Williams illustrations from Little House on the Prairie and Stuart Little may be the main event for some collectors, but on the other side of the spectrum, the pulp art work of Norman Saunders (such as the oil on canvas seen here, "Ten Detective Aces," from a May 1941 pulp cover) is sure to draw some attention. The estimate is $8,000-$12,000. "Among his most notable creations are his many lurid painted covers for the pulp and men's magazines, his dramatic painted comic book and paperback covers, and his infamous trading card scenes for Topps," said Heritage illustration art specialist Todd Hignite, in the winter 2011 issue of Heritage magazine.

In FB&C's summer issue, we noted a trend in children's illustration, mainly among museums, which may be driving the increased auction interest. At the time, both curators and collectors told us that children's book illustration is growing in prominence, fueled by popular appeal, nostalgia among Baby Boomers, and the "relatively recent recognition of illustration as valuable art."

To wit, at Bonhams' Fine Books & Manuscripts auction on Feb. 13, a rare signed Beatrix Potter illustration will be on the block for an estimated $12,000-$18,000. Also at that sale -- a signed, original mixed media on cardstock cover design by Dr. Seuss, for the book, You're Only Old Once! (est. $20,000-$30,000).