Auctions | May 5, 2020

Patrick Nagel Leads Heritage Illustration Art Auction Above $1.5 Million

Dallas – A flurry of competitive bidding drove Patrick Nagel’s Untitled, 1982 to $112,500 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Illustration Art Auction April 24 in Dallas, Texas. The sale, which boasted sell-through rates of 98.3% by value and 97.6% by lots sold, amassed $1,540,986 in total sales, topping the pre-auction estimate of $1,073,150 by nearly 44%.

“Patrick Nagel was an enormously successful artist whose popularity is as high as ever,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “His work has been popular in pop culture and advertising for decades, making it no surprise that the demand led to such an impressive result.”

The sale’s top lot soared past its pre-auction estimate of $60,000-80,000, and captures the artist’s signature style of images of beautiful women, often depicted with dark hair and eyebrows and dark or bright red lips. The style captures the roots of early 20th-century graphic design, and has been utilized extensively in fashion and music, including on the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio album.

Also climbing past its pre-auction estimates was Gil Elvgren Neat Trick, 1953, which found a new home at $52,500. The painting was reproduced as figure 320 in Gil Elvgren All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups by Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel (Taschen, 1999), and was accompanied in the auction by an original 1969 calendar.

Henry Richard Van Dongen Earthman Beware! Super Science Stories magazine cover, June 1951 sparked otherworldly demand among more than a dozen collectors, more than a dozen of whom drove the final price to $42,500, more than eight times its high pre-auction estimate of $5,000.

Enoch Bolles Dancer, Breezy Stories magazine cover, August 1935 led a strong selection of pinup art when it closed at $42,500. From the sale’s Sordoni Collection, the oil on canvas is initialed lower left.

The auction contained a strong selection of artwork that appeared on magazine covers, including Hugh Joseph Ward Desert Madness, Spicy Adventure Stories magazine cover, May 1935, which brought $33,750.

The auction included three Weird Tales Magazine covers. Nearly a dozen bidders drove the result for Margaret Brundage The Slithering Shadow, Weird Tales pulp magazine cover, September 1933 past its pre-auction estimates until it closed at $27,500, Virgil Finlay’s The Thief of Forthe, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1937 brought $25,000 and Lee Brown Coye, The Vampire, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1947 tied its world auction record at $18,750.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

Patrick Nagel Glove, Commemorative #6: $30,000
Margaret Brundage The Slithering Shadow, Weird Tales pulp magazine cover, September 1933: $27,500
Alberto Vargas Merry Widow, 1951: $27,500
Gil Elvgren A Put-Up Job, Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration, 1955: $27,500
Gil Elvgren The Ace of Hearts: $25,000
Virgil Finlay The Thief of Forthe, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1937: $25,000

Heritage Auctions’ next Illustration Art Auction is scheduled for Oct. 16.