Auctions | September 29, 2016

Out-of-this-world Illustration Art Lands at Heritage Auctions

Red Planet copy.jpgDALLAS — Two iconic images of 20th century science fiction and pop culture  — Red Planet, 1974, by Frank Frazetta and John Alvin’s original painting used as the movie poster for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial  — highlight Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 12 Illustration Art Auction in Dallas. The hand-curated selection touches every corner of the illustration world, from Robert Crumb to classic pin-up art and pulp fiction cover art.

“The amount of fresh-to-market artwork in this auction is simply staggering,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of at Heritage Auctions. “We are offering the finest examples from highly sought-after artists right now.”

High-end science fiction artwork is expected to take top lot honors as Frank Frazetta’s Red Planet, 1974 (est. $150,000+), crosses the block barely two months after Heritage set a seven-figure world auction record for the artist.

Another auction first, the Original Promotional Movie Poster Illustration for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, is offered at auction for the first time after hanging on Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson’s office wall for the last 13 years ($150,000+). “Every time my son’s or daughter’s friends would see the painting they’d stand in front of it with their fingers touching in the same way,” recalled Bendetson.

Universal Pictures outsourced the poster to a company called Intralink and its master movie poster artist John Alvin. Utilizing his daughter's hand as a model and taking inspiration from Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, Alvin’s painting became the most well-associated image for the 1982 film, which many critics call director Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece and one of the greatest movies ever made.

Heritage’s global reputation for offering the finest of Gil Elvgren’s pin-up art holds true as A Lot at Steak, a Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration from 1955 (est. $50,000-$70,000) and Tasteful Design, circa 1960s, will be available to collectors for the first time in nearly a decade ($50,000-$70,000). Elvgren’s playful Hold Everything (Making Friends; Puppy Love), 1962 (est. $40,000-$60,000) and Worth a Gander, 1951, another Brown and Bigelow calendar illustration (est. $40,000-$60,000) were both created at the height of the artist’s career. The original art for Vargas Girl, February 1946, a classic Esquire calendar illustration by of Antonio Vargas, another king of the American pin-up genre, also appears in the auction ($30,000-$50,000).

Additional fresh-to-market artwork by America’s most revered and beloved illustrators include Robert Crumb’s Elvis Tilley, the original cover art for the February 21, 1994 The New Yorker magazine (est. $30,000-$50,000) makes its auction debut, as does a set of two works in one lot by Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Suess. The works titled Suess Navy, National Motorboat Show -- Standard Oil advertisements, 1934-41 (est. $8,000-$12,000).

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

A selection of artwork by LeRoy Neiman, including Haute Cuisine, 1964, which makes its auction debut at Heritage (est. $20,000-$30,000).

Artist Tom Lovell’s The Occupation of Paris, Cosmopolitan magazine interior illustration, 1943 (est. $15,000-$25,000). 

Murder's Madcap Mermaid, 15-Story Detective magazine cover, June 1950, by Norman Saunders (est. $8,000-$12,000) highlights a selection of pulp fiction cover art from artists such as Boris Vallejo, Peter Driben, and John Hilkert

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and over one million online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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