Auctions | October 3, 2014

1980s Patrick Nagel Pin-Ups Could Bring $50,000+ Each at Heritage Auctions in NY

DALLAS—Patrick Nagel’s sultry 1980s acrylic on canvas Posing with Panther is expected to sell for $60,000+ in Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 17 Illustration Art Signature® Auction in New York. This pin-up is one of six artworks by Nagel in the sale along with Nude With Gloves, 1983, (est. $50,000+) and The Tigress, 1985, (est. $30,000+).

In addition to an incredible selection of pin-up from all eras, the Oct. 17 Illustration auction—bookended by Signature® Auctions of Photographs, Oct. 16, and Texas Art, Oct. 18—holds two important collections that couldn’t come to market at a better time.

“We’re offering two important collections of vintage noir paperback cover art and science-fiction art,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage. “Collector interest has really grown in the last few years so I’m pleased we have a lot of great material in these genres.”

For paperback art, James Avati, called “the Rembrandt of the paperbacks,” leads the way with This Very Earth, 1951 (est. $5,000+). Pulp standouts include The Slithering Shadow, an original cover painted for Weird Tales magazine by Margaret Brundage (est. $50,000+) and Hugh Joseph Ward’s May 1935 cover painted for Spicy Adventure Stories magazine (est. $20,000+); the oil on canvas, titled Desert Madness, depicts a rueful damsel coiled behind a corner with a dagger, ready to strike.

A cavalcade of pin-up art is led by a Gil Elvgren’s Swingin’ Sweetie, an oil on canvas  calendar illustration painted for Brown & Bigelow in 1968 (est. $50,000+), and What a View!, an instantly-recognizable, 1957 illustration for Brown & Bigelow (est. $40,000+). An iconic watercolor by Alberto Vargas titled Vargas Girl: “He said that Niagara Falls is a source of power,” painted for Playboy Magazine in June 1962 (est. $25,000+) is one of a significant group of Vargas works offered from various stages in his career.

“This auction holds a number of excellent pin-up examples for which Heritage’s Illustration Art auctions have become known,” Hignite said, citing Earl Moran’s 1946 portrait of Marilyn Monroe Now This Is Just Between You and Me (est. $30,000+). “It’s a great thing.”

A stunning classic by master pin-up artist Rolf Armstrong titled Let’s Be Friends (est. $25,000+), appears at auction for the first time after it descended through the family of model Dea Smith to the present owner.

A large selection of science fiction and fantasy art includes Michael Whelan’s original 1980 art for Stephen King’s paperback edition of Firestarter (est. $20,000+). Frank R. Paul’s original cover art for Air Suspense Stories, December 1929, harkens to the golden era of American’s fascination with science aviation stories (est. $10,000+).

A selection of classic interior and magazine cover illustrations from the early to mid-20th century is highlighted by a large and impressive work by Al Hirschfeld, drawn for Collier’s Magazine in 1953 (est. $12,000+). The work is titled While Harpo Marx Offered Golf Lesson with Umbrella and Matzoth Ball, Other Round Table Diners Calmly Ate On, and was produced specifically for an article on Hollywood's exclusive comedians' club. 

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

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