Auctions | June 16, 2021

Illustration Art at Swann Galleries June 24

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

From Edward Gorey's You’ve written me to no avail, Because I never read my mail, postcard design created by Gorey for the purpose of replying to fan mail, pen and ink, 1979. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

New York — Illustration Art is at Swann Galleries Thursday, June 24. The sale will feature original works by luminaries such as Al Hirschfeld, Edward Gorey and Jo Mielziner, alongside cover designs for The New Yorker, Sunday comics, book illustrations and more

Charles Schulz leads the sale with two original 1971 four-panel Peanuts comic strips that follow Lucy as she tries to prepare for the Christmas skating show ($15,000-25,000, each). Additional comics and cartoons include a run of Pat Sullivan Felix the Cat Sunday funnies by Otto Messmer, who worked for Pat Sullivan Studios ($5,000-7,000 & $3,000-5,000); a three-panel 1973 Hägar the Horrible strip by Dik Browne ($600-900); Norman Mingo with studies for covers of 1970s issues of Mad Magazine ($1,200-1,800, each); cartoons for Playboy, Wall Street Journal, and more.

Al Hirschfeld caricatures will include Damon Runyon, a circa-1980 pen and ink drawing of the American short-story writer whose tales are responsible for the basis of the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls ($3,000-4,000); and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in “Private Lives,” a 1983 illustration of the Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s play, published in The New York Times ($4,000-6,000).

Swann’s illustration sales often include a robust selection of costume and set design; theater will feature Adrianne Lobel with 26 original scenic concept designs for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical My One and Only, 1983 ($6,000-9,000); and Jo Mielziner with two proposed scenic designs: the first for a stage production of Tennessee Williams’s Camino Real, circa 1950 ($600-900), and the second for a stage production of The Great Gatsby ($600-900).

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

House favorite Edward Gorey is on offer with a run of six original works. Highlights feature Dogear Wryde Postcards Interpretive Series, 1979, a group of 11 pen-and-ink illustrations for the postcard series ($7,000-10,000); three separate designs used in the various stage productions of Amphigorey, circa 1992–2002 ($6,000-9,000); and the 1979 postcard Gorey designed for the purpose of replying to fan mail, which reads “You’ve written me to no avail, because I never read my mail” ($4,000-6,000).

Children’s illustrations will feature a series of works by Arnold Lobel: a 1976 pen-and-ink drawing for the story The Surprise ($4,000-6,000), and two 1981 illustrations for The Frog and Toad Coloring Book ($3,000-4,000 each). Also available is Chris van Allsburg with an 1987 conté crayon on board for The Z Was Zapped, The J was rather Jittery ($6,000-9,000); the full cover design created for the John Lane re-issue of The Song of Sixpence Picture Book from the George Routledge Picture Books series of the 1870s by Walter Crane ($4,000-6,000); C.F. Payne with Micawber – Imitating Norman Rockwell’s Triple Self-Portrait, acrylic, watercolor and colored pencil, 2002, published in Micawber by John Lithgow ($800-1,200); as well as works by William Pène du Bois, Lynn Munsinger,  Tomi Ungerer, Ludwig Bemelmans, Tomie de Paola, and more.

Additional highlights include book and magazine illustrations with Haddon Sundblom’s 1942 illustration for the story All a Girl Needs by Gladys Taber, published in The Ladies’ Home Journal ($8,000-10,000); Brian Froud’s double-panel watercolor, gouache and ink work for The Land of Froud, 1977 ($6,000-9,000); as well as a run of sci-fi images by Don Brautigam.

The sale will conclude with the popular New Yorker section and will feature covers designs by Constantin Alajalov ($4,000-6,000), Arthur Getz ($3,000-4,000), Lee Lorenz ($2,500-3,500), and a proposed design by Rea Irvin ($700-1,000). Cartoons include Charles Addams with I imagine it’s the University of Southern California, published in 1937 ($6,000-9,000), as well as Roz Chast, Lorenz, Frank Modell among others.

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available through June 23, to be scheduled directly with a 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 and on the Swann Galleries App.