Records & Results: Illustration Art Draws A Crowd

Our September 29, 2016 auction of Illustration Art offered works by Ludwig Bemelmans, Howard Chandler Christy and  Man Ray to a room packed with eager buyers. The sale broke five auction records and covered a range of material from children’s characters to midcentury pulp to contemporary cartoons.

George Lepape’s 1927 cover for Vogue Magazine, Le Miroir, was the top lot for the sale, as well as an auction record for the artist at $52,500.

 

Georges Lepape, Le Miroir, watercolor and ink, 1927. Sold September 29, 2016 for $52,500, an auction record for the artist.

Georges Lepape, Le Miroir, watercolor and ink, 1927. Sold September 29, 2016 for $52,500, an auction record for the artist.

 

An amusing gouache by Erté took the second highest lot at $45,000, an auction record for the artist. La Cage Improviseé depicts two ladies delighted by a peacock caught in a fountain. Erté—a portmanteau of the artist’s initials, Romain de Tirtoff— was a Russian-born French artist working in Paris in the 1920s. He was well represented in the sale by three beautiful gouache paintings, two of which were for Harper’s Bazaar.

 

Erté, La Cage Improvisée, gouache, 1922. Sold September 29, 2016 for $45,000, an auction record for the artist.

Erté, La Cage Improvisée, gouache, 1922. Sold September 29, 2016 for $45,000, an auction record for the artist.

 

A recently rediscovered original watercolor by Dr. Seuss for Tadd and Todd, featuring Tadd trying to distinguish himself, sold after a bidding war to a private collector for $23,750.

 

Dr. Seuss, Tadd and Todd, ink and watercolor, 1950.Sold September 29, 2016 for $23,750.

Dr. Seuss, Tadd and Todd, ink and watercolor, 1950. Sold September 29, 2016 for $23,750.

 

Buyers bid fiercely for works by Charles Addams and Aubrey Beardsley. Addams’s top lot, This is your room. If you should need anything, just scream, depicts familiar characters from the famous Addams Family. The 1943 watercolor sold for $20,000; Noisy Neighbor, a 1951 cartoon for The New Yorker, sold for $15,000.

 

Charles Addams, This is your room. If you should need anything, just scream, watercolor, ink and wash, 1943. Sold September 29, 2016 for $20,000.

Charles Addams, This is your room. If you should need anything, just scream, watercolor, ink and wash, 1943. Sold September 29, 2016 for $20,000.

 

All four works by nineteenth-century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley sold above their estimates: the run of pen and ink drawings were decorations for the 1893-94 Dent edition of Le Morte d’Arthur. Rose Bush led these with $12,500.

 

Aubrey Beardsley, Rose Bush, pen and ink, 1893-94. Sold September 29, 2016 for $12,500.

Aubrey Beardsley, Rose Bush, pen and ink, 1893-94. Sold September 29, 2016 for $12,500.

 

Another auction record went to Harvey Kidder for his Reader’s Digest cover, Christmas Eve in New York (Plaza Hotel). The piece went for over three times its high estimate at $3,000.

 

Harvey Kidder, Christmas Eve in New York (Plaza Hotel), watercolor, ink and gouache, circa 1975. Sold September 29, 2016 for $3,000, an auction record for the artist.

Harvey Kidder, Christmas Eve in New York (Plaza Hotel), watercolor, ink and gouache, circa 1975. Sold September 29, 2016 for $3,000, an auction record for the artist.

 

Noted W.P.A. muralist Allen Saalberg saw an auction record with his gouache set designs for The Green Pastures, a 1936 film portraying whimsical bible traditions of southern African Americans. From the catalogue: “to reduce production costs, the film was shot entirely on a 300×175 foot soundstage in Burbank, California. In order to accomplish the illusion of rolling hills and expansive canopies of Spanish moss, Art Director Allen Saalburg was given the task of painstakingly designing the logistics of each scene. The set designs in this archive reveal the mind of a problem solver and artistic genius.” The series of 22 designs sold for $7,250 to a private institution.

 

Allen Saalburg, set designs for The Green Pastures, gouache, circa 1936. Sold September 29, 2016 for $7,250, an auction record for the artist.

Allen Saalburg, set designs for The Green Pastures, gouache, circa 1936. Sold September 29, 2016 for $7,250, an auction record for the artist.

 

Perhaps the most delightful auction record went to staff favorites Fancy Falcon and Dandy Toucan, two watercolors by Wallace Edwards. Together they sold for $1,820.

 

 

Wallace Edwards, Fancy Falcon and Dandy Toucan, watercolor and ink, 2003. Together sold September 29, 2016 for $1,820, an auction record for the artist.

Wallace Edwards, Fancy Falcon and Dandy Toucan, watercolor and ink, 2003. Together sold September 29, 2016 for $1,820, an auction record for the artist.

 

For full results, visit the full catalogue.