Man-Cave-iana: You’ll Know It When You See It

Our annual sale of Illustration Art is about to get underway, and with it we see the return of one of our favorite pet genres, “Man-Cave-iana.” Unsure of exactly what this category entails? Specialist John D. Larson provides the following insight:

“Renewed interest in and appreciation of so-called genre illustration art has resulted in the growth of colorful and not-so-colorful descriptives for this type of material: Pulp, Pin-Ups, Nudies and Calendar Girls, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Bodice-Rippers, Weird Americana, Beefcake and Sports, Comix and so on. In the interest of consolidating all of these in a pithy catch-all, we propose a new collecting category for the illustration art enthusiast: “Man-Cave-iana.”

We charitably chalk this phenomenon up to reinvigorated contact with our idyllic youth rather than the celebration of the increasing infantilization of the American male. For the specialist and amateur alike, Man-Cave-iana is both impossible to define and easy to spot. Just as Justice Potter Stewart said regarding the criteria for identifying pornography, “I know it when I see it,” so too will you know Man-Cave-iana.”

Here’s a look at some of our favorite examples of “Man-cave-iana” from our upcoming auction.
Lot 159 - George Petty, Army vs Navy, watercolor and gouache on board, advertisement and calendar image for Old Gold Cigarettes. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.

Lot 159 : George Petty, Army vs Navy, watercolor and gouache on board, advertisement and calendar image for Old Gold Cigarettes. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.

Lot 20 - Elmer Simms Campbell, I used to know her - four checkbooks ago, watercolor, gouache and pencil on board, 1936. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.

Lot 20 : Elmer Simms Campbell, I used to know her – four checkbooks ago, watercolor, gouache and pencil on board, 1936. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.

Lot 27: Charles Copeland, The Big Wet Kill, acrylic on board, published September 1958 in Swank Magazine. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Lot 27: Charles Copeland, The Big Wet Kill, acrylic on board, published September 1958 in Swank Magazine. Estimate $800 to $1,200.

Lot 95 - Lou Marchetti, Intimate Affairs of a French Nurse, gouache on board, cover for pulp novel of the same name by Florence Stonebraker, New York, 1953. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 95 : Lou Marchetti, Intimate Affairs of a French Nurse, gouache on board, cover for pulp novel of the same name by Florence Stonebraker, New York, 1953. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 97 - Lou Marchetti, The Smuggler #4 - Mother Luck, acrylic on board, cover art for book of the same name by Paul Petersen, 1974. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 97 : Lou Marchetti, The Smuggler #4 – Mother Luck, acrylic on board, cover art for book of the same name by Paul Petersen, 1974. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 177: DC Comics, Bat Girl, pencil and blue crayon drawing and finished animation cel with background. Estimate $400 to $600.

Lot 177: DC Comics, Bat Girl, pencil and blue crayon drawing and finished animation cel with background. Estimate $400 to $600.

Lot 69: Richard Harvey, Tatiana, chalk and airbrush on paper, illustration for Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love published by The Reader's Digest in the 1980s. Estimate $250 to $350.

Lot 69: Richard Harvey, Tatiana, chalk and airbrush on paper, illustration for Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love published by The Reader’s Digest in the 1980s. Estimate $250 to $350.

Lot 232: Abner Dean, Contented Man Sleeping with His Golf Trophy, ink and was on paper, possibly an unused cover design for The New Yorker, circa 1950s. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 232: Abner Dean, Contented Man Sleeping with His Golf Trophy, ink and was on paper, possibly an unused cover design for The New Yorker, circa 1950s. Estimate $600 to $900.

Lot 200: William Steig, The New York Mets (with Opera-goers), ink and wash on paper, circa1969-1973. Estimate $700 to $1,000.

Lot 200: William Steig, The New York Mets (with Opera-goers), ink and wash on paper, circa1969-1973. Estimate $700 to $1,000.

Lot 164: Howard Scott, That's My Meat!, Kingan's Reliable Sausages billboard artwork, gouache on board with collage, 1949. Estimate $600 to $900

Lot 164: Howard Scott, That’s My Meat!, Kingan’s Reliable Sausages billboard artwork, gouache on board with collage, 1949. Estimate $600 to $900.

For more thrilling Man-Cave-iana, as well as many other genres of illustration, take a look at our complete catalogue