Auctions | April 9, 2015

1939 “Wizard of Oz” Concept Art Crosses Auction Block


BEVERLY HILLS—Two original pre-production concept paintings from “The Wizard of Oz,” (MGM, 1939) both done by artist Jack Martin Smith before any sets were built for the classic film (estimate: $8,000+ each), will offer collectors and fans of the film alike the chance of a lifetime—to own a prime piece of the legacy of the most influential film ever made—when they are sold in Heritage Auctions’ April 18 Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature® Auction in Beverly Hills.

“Anything associated with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is special,” said Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment & Music auctions at Heritage, “but these paintings are not just linked to the most extraordinary film of all time, they’re simply exceptional pieces of art, too.”

The first concept painting, rendered in somber shades of teal blue, dark gray, and white (with the exception of Dorothy's light blue dress), depicts the five main characters of the film, Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion as they're first meeting the Wizard. The second concept painting, rendered mostly in shades of teal blue and forest green with small areas of peach and white highlights, depicts a man riding a horse and buggy set against the fantastical background of Emerald City, possibly the “Horse of a different color” scene. 

The legacy of John Wayne continues to be golden, helped in part by the quality and quantity of good memorabilia associated with the great actor. This auction features a fresh-to-market John Wayne eye patch from the film “Rooster Cogburn” (Universal, 1975) (estimate: $6,000+), one of many worn by Duke throughout the film as he portrayed the title character alongside Katharine Hepburn. The patch comes originally from Hollywood cameraman Owen Marsh, who was given it by a prop master he was working with on another film when Marsh injured himself on-set. Fans of Duke will also appreciate a John Wayne gifted coffee mug from "”Donovan's Reef” (Paramount, 1963) (estimate: $800+), originally gifted by the actor to actor Charles Seel, who portrayed Grand Uncle Sedley Atterbury Pennyfeather in the last film that Wayne and director John Ford worked on together.

Director James Whale is a Hollywood legend for his work on “Frankenstein” (Universal, 1931) and “Bride of Frankenstein” (Universal, 1935), but he was also renowned for his work as a painter. To that effect, the auction features a 1952 James Whale oil painting depicting the Rue Du Bac in Paris (estimate: $5,000+). Whale’s love of painting was a central theme in the 1989 Lionsgate film “Gods and Monsters,” which focused on the director’s later life.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

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