The success of our January 28auction of Illustration Art displayed a clear rise in interest in this collecting category, prompting our specialists to expand the department and add a second yearly sale next autumn. The top lot was a charcoal and pastel maquette by Howard Chandler Christy, I Am an American! for his iconic poster of the same name. The drawing sold for $40,000, an auction record for any drawing by the artist.
Howard Chandler Christy, I Am an American!, charcoal and pastel on board, 1941. Sold for $40,000, an auction record for any drawing by the artist.
Addams Family creator Charles Addams had a handful of works in the sale, all of which sold above their pre-sale estimates. The Dark Side of “Little Annie,” an illustration for a 1962 cover of Show: The Magazine of the Arts, humorously depicts the power of the network television industry in the early 1960s. The painting is inscribed to James Aubrey, the central figure in the Show article, who was a young and ambitious executive at CBS.
Charles Addams, E=MC², watercolor and ink on board, published in The New Yorker Oct. 8, 1960. Sold for $11,700.
Addams’s watercolor and ink cartoon, E=MC2, sold for $11,700. The cartoon was published in the October 8, 1960 issue of The New Yorker. Illustrations appearing in The New Yorker continue to be a decided favorite within the Illustration Art category. Arthur Getz’s Cotton Candy at the Circus, a casein tempera cover illustration for an August 1953 issue of The New Yorker, set an auction record for work by the artist to come to auction, selling for $7,250.
Arthur Getz, The Cotton Candy Circus, casein tempera, cover illustration for The New Yorker, April 6, 1965. Sold for $7,250, an auction record for any work by the artist.
Edward Gorey, Haunted New Orleans, pen and ink with wash, published in Holiday Magazine June 1961. Sold for $10,625.
Works by Edward Gorey continue to be popular. Haunted New Orleans, a pen and ink illustration published in the June 1961 edition of Holiday Magazine, brought $10,675. Gorey’s proposed cover for the Crime Club Selection Dead By Now by Margaret Erskine sold for $9,375.
Edward Gorey, Dead By Now, pen and ink, proposed cover and spine for The Crime Club Selection Dead By Now by Margaret Erskine, circa 1954. Sold for $9,375.
Alexandra Exter, costume design for Romeo and Juliet, watercolor and pencil with silk fabric swatches. Sold for $13,750.
Alexandra Exter’s 1921 costume design for Romeo and Juliet, brought $13,750. The designs for this show were her most famous, employing Cubist and Futurist-inspired shapes and colors.
Christine von der Linn, Swann Galleries’ Illustration Art Specialist, said, “We were thrilled to see an increase in demand and prices for top American illustrators such as Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, and William Steig. Our favorite niche subjects of The New Yorker (which had a 100% sell-through rate) and advertising art were also decidedly crowd favorites as well. We’re excited for future sales where this material features prominently.”
Swann accepts consignments of original Illustration Art on a rolling basis. The next sale is slated for Autumn 2016. Email Associate Cataloguer Arielle Bremby with consignment inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.