January 8, 2013

Illustration Art Auction at Swann Features Sendak Rarities

New York—Swann Galleries kicks off their Winter 2013 auction season with an unprecedented sale devoted to 20th Century Illustration: Original Art / Books, Featuring Maurice Sendak on January 24. There is a plethora of original cartoons, book illustrations, dust jacket designs and sketches.

The sale opens with nearly 100 lots of illustrated books that features the Reed Orenstein Maurice Sendak Collection. Orenstein, the late bookseller and long-time Sendak collector, assembled a wonderful selection of works written and/or illustrated by Sendak, including most of his important works in first edition, many signed, and several with small sketches and inscriptions. Copies of Where the Wild Things Are include a signed true first edition, issued with the scarce pre-Caldicott award dust jacket, New York, 1963 (estimate: $8,000 to $12,000); a first edition inscribed and signed and with a drawing of one of the creatures ($10,000 to $15,000); and a 25th anniversary edition, signed and with a separate original ink drawing of another Wild Thing, 1988 ($5,000 to $7,500).
Also by Sendak are signed copies of Seven Little Stories on Big Subjects, 1955 ($3,000 to $5,000); In the Night Kitchen, 1970 ($800 to $1,200); two different copies of Some Swell Pup, or, Are You Sure You Want a Dog?, each with a watercolor and ink drawing, 1976 ($800 to $1,200 each); as well as some fun ephemera, including signed posters and Wild Things figurines.

Other highlights of the books section are titles illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Arthur Szyk, Oakley Thornton and a small run of works by the lovably ghoulish Edward Gorey. Gorey is featured in the original art portion of the sale as well, with a watercolor and ink study for an alternate cover for the children's book Penny Candy, authored by Edward Fenton,1970 ($4,000 to $6,000).

The original art portion of the sale is, in fact, replete with examples from classic children's literature. Among the earliest examples is a circa 1895 pencil drawing by Beatrix Potter of The Cats' Meat Man, from the estate of the artist's brother ($30,000 to $40,000). Immediately recognizable to certain generations of young readers are Garth Williams's Little House on the Prairie, dust jacket, here as an original ink drawing, circa 1953 ($30,000 to $40,000); three groupings of his ink drawings for Stuart Little, circa 1945 ($2,000 to $3,000 to $8,000 to $12,000) and a set of 48 proof plates of Williams' illustrations for Charlotte's Web, watercolored and signed by Rosemary Wells for the 50th Anniversary Edition of the book, 2002 ($25,000 to $35,000).

Among several drawings by Ludwig Bemelmans is a watercolor and ink depiction of his most famous creation, Madeleine ($3,500 to $5,000). Iconic (and maybe ironic) fun is found in two watercolor illustrations from the 1950s children's titles featuring "Dick and Jane" by Eleanor Campbell ($2,500 to $3,500 each). There are also several watercolors by fantasy illustrator Michael Hague for J.R.R. Tolkien's three Lord of the Rings books, as well as The Hobbit ($1,000 to $1,500 each). A pair of Hilary Knight's drawings of the Plaza Hotel's most beloved young denizen, Eloise, which were sketched for an unrealized 1988 New York Times Magazine cover, are offered ($2,000 to $3,000 and $3,000 to $4,000); as are and a group of eight pencil sketches by Maurice Sendak for the CBS TV animated special Really Rosie, circa 1975 ($20,000 to $30,000).

From Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Geisel, is a signed and inscribed pen and ink and watercolor on board of A Pair of Llamas in Peru, inspired by trips the famed writer and illustrator made with his wife in the early 1930s ($20,000 to $30,000).

There are nearly 20 lots of drawings and animation cels from various Disney productions, including a pair of color crayon concept drawings for a Goofy character, Sir Cumference, 1946 ($1,000 to $1,500); a pencil sketch for the "Dance of the Hours" sequence in Fantasia, circa 1940 ($1,200 to $1,800); and a three-tiered King Features Syndicate Sunday comic strip dated November 12, 1950, also featuring Goofy ($3,500 to $5,000).

Other comic strips in the sale are a Sunday Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz featuring Charlie Brown and Patty, from March 1963 ($25,000 to $35,000); a Sunday Li'l Abner comic by Al Capp, from 1976 ($1,500 to $2,000); Cady Harrison's Peter Rabbit, a popular Sunday comic strip from 1921 ($1,000 to $1,500); three of Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey Sunday strips; and a 1980 Hagar the Horrible strip by Dik Browne.

New Yorker magazine material includes an ink cartoon by James Thurber with the caption, He Doesn't Believe a Single Word He's Read in the Past Ten Years ($5,000 to $7,000) and a watercolor, Rites of Spring, which appeared on the magazine's cover April 27, 1940 ($8,000 to $12,000); Charles Addams's caption-less watercolor of a couple walking past a giant birdhouse, January 1948 ($3,000 to $4,000); three of Ed Koren's cartoons from the 1960s and 70s ($800 to $1,200 each); and, from the 21st century, Edward Sorel's color cartoons, including depictions of Howard Cosell, Norman Mailer and President Obama.

There is also a run of illustrations for the New York Times by Al Hirschfeld, from Fanny Brice Singing, 1936 ($3,000 to $4,000) to Pippen, 1972 ($6,000 to $9,000).

For the first time at auction, original dust jacket art by Fred Marcellino is offered. A premier book jacket artist of the 1970s and 80s, his work is readily recognizable from The Bonfire of the Vanities to The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and this sale offers the original art for Thomas Pynchon's Slow Learner, 1984 ($6,000 to $9,000).

Another extraordinary example of art created for a book is a suite of 19 drawings with typescript on the backs for a never completed 1933 project by Edward J. Detmold, The Truth ($10,000 to $15,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. The books and illustrations will be on public exhibition Friday, January 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, January 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, January 22 and Wednesday, January 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, January 24, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact (for books) Christine von der Linn at (212) 254-4710, extension 20, or via e-mail at cvonderlinn@swanngalleries.com; or John Larson (for art) at (212) 254-4710, extension 61, or via e-mail at jlarson@swanngalleries.com

Live online bidding is available via Artfact. Click on the Artfact link on the swanngalleries.com homepage.
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