Auctions | November 15, 2018

Illustrations from Treasured Children's Literature at Swann on December 6

New York - Swann Galleries continues their auction season with Illustration Art on Thursday, December 6. The sale boasts an array of original works rife with nostalgia including children’s literature, American illustration and works from as early as 1817.

Ludwig Bemelmans leads a stellar assortment of illustrations from beloved children’s books with Madeline, Miss Clavel and the 11 schoolgirls. The heroine and her friends make an appearance in two illustrations from Madeline in London, 1961, the author’s final Madeline publication. After Everybody had been Fed features Miss Clavel and the girls dancing around Pepito’s birthday cake, and Everyone was in his Bed, shows the headmistress wishing her students a good night. The works demonstrate Bemelmans’ editorial process-the final publication featured different captions for illustrations-each are estimated at $30,000 to $40,000.                                  

Other children’s literature illustrations include Jerry Pinkney’s vibrant drawing for the cover of School Library Journal, published in December 2009. The special holiday watercolor features his characters from The Lion & The Mouse catching snowflakes on their tongues (Estimate: $7,000-10,000). Four of Maria Louise Kirk’s well-known illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1904, depict Alice in her rarely seen yellow dress ($5,000-7,500). Maurice Sendak is present with a preliminary sketch and final illustration for Little Bear’s New Friend, which appeared in a 2001 edition of Nick Jr. Magazine ($30,000-40,000). Also available is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar and H.A. Rey’s 1939 color pencil work for Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys-the first book to introduce Curious George ($8,000-12,000 and $10,000-15,000, respectively).

The sale is led by a Norman Rockwell study for the cover of the March 18, 1939 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The study features James K. Van Brunt, a friend of the artist and one of his favorite models, as a serious yet slightly unkempt alchemist. By the time the image was created Van Brunt had passed and Rockwell was using photo references to execute the cover ($70,000-100,000). Also by Rockwell is The Maternity Waiting Room, an early color study for the illustration published in a 1946 issue of The Saturday Evening Post ($20,000-30,000).

Charlie Brown and Snoopy take the spotlight in this auction with Swann’s largest offering of Peanuts cartoons to date. The assortment of original comic strips by Charles M. Schulz include The Years are Going By Fast, featuring Schroder and Lucy ($8,000-12,000), as well as four additional comic strips and one charcoal drawing, each featuring everyone’s favorite beagle. Additional cartoons include an original 11-panel Doonesbury strip by Garry Trudeau featuring his character Rufus Jackson. Created in the early 1970s the, strip is dedicated and inscribed to the influential psychologist, educator and civil rights activist Kenneth B. Clark ($6,000-9,000).

Early twentieth-century originals include Sir William Russell Flint’s 1924 gouache and watercolor piece for Homer’s Odyssey, which shows a detailed image of Penelope weaving her shroud, is expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000. Illustration 34 from Simón Bolivar and His Time: 51 Miniatures by Arthur Szyk, created circa 1929, but published in 1952, displays a sympathetic portrait of the liberator ($8,000-12,000). A late-1930s manuscript broadside with a message “To all Fascists:” by Rockwell Kent for the League of American Writers, protesting the Spanish Civil War and signed by dozens of members, is estimated at $3,000 to $4,000.

Skaters on the Ice by James Daugherty is the earliest New Yorker cover the house has offered, published in January 1926 and estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. A Charles Addams cartoon of a couple walking past an alarmingly large bird house is expected to bring $6,000 to $9,000. Other highlights from the iconic magazine include a 1964 cover by Peter Arno, cover illustrations from Heidi Goennel and cartoons from Charles Barsotti.