Spring 2019: Illustration Art

At Auction June 4, 2019

Mead Schaeffer, frontispiece & dust jacket illustration for Moby Dick, oil on canvas, 1922. $25,000 to $35,000.

Exhibition Opens May 30 – June 4

The exhibition is free to attend and open to the public. We welcome special and educational groups with advance notice–send an inquiry to rsvp@swanngalleries.com

Exhibition Hours

Thursday, May 30 – 10 am to 6 pm

Friday, May 31 – 10 am to 6 pm

Saturday, June 1 – 12 pm to 5 pm

Monday, June 3 – 10 am to 6 pm

Tuesday, June 4 – 10 am to 12 pm

American Illustrators

Masters from the Golden Age of Illustration Art include Tom Lovell and Harold Von Schmidt, Saul Tepper, as well as two Four Roses whiskey advertisements by John Philip Falter, and Frederic Remington’s depiction of Buffalo Soldiers, A Halt to Tighten the Packs. A small archive of material from American illustrator Matt Clark includes a dozen small sketches with artist’s notes and his Western Union telegraphs Saturday Evening Post‘s Kenneth Roberts and Pete Martin. Mead Schaeffer’s dramatic cover for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick leads the section.

John Falter, A question for a man arriving on the clipper, oil on canvas, 1942.
$12,000 to $18,000.
Frederic Remington, A Halt to Tighten the Packs, pen & ink, for A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers by Remington, published in Century Magazine, 1889. $25,000 to $35,000.


From the world of theater comes several pieces by giants of the industry, with one of Eugene Berman’s very first set designs, and the atmospheric backdrop Pet Shop Drop by Jo Mielziner for the 1940 Broadway production of Pal Joey, plus two drawings by Edy Legrand for La Divine Comédie, purchased from the artist by Mielziner in 1935. The headline for the section is Al Hirschfeld’s Paul Robeson as Othello, published in The New York Times to promote the 1943 revival of Shakespeare’s play on Broadway. The production was major for being the first in America to cast an African American actor in the title role with a white supporting cast. Also on offer is Pavel Tchelitchew‘s scenic design for Mozart’s Violin Concerto, which was choreographed by ballet legend George Balanchine.

Al Hirschfeld, Paul Robeson as Othello, ink & masking fluid, for the 1943 Broadway play, published in The New York Times, 1942. $25,000 to $35,000.
Eugene Berman, Decor Musical, ink, gouache & watercolor, set design for the first annual Hartford Festival, 1936. $1,500 to $2,500.
Jo Mielziner, Pet Shop Drop, mixed media, backdrop for Pal Joey, 1940. $4,000 to $6,000.

The New Yorker

Cartoon highlights abound with several by Charles Addams, and one by Winsor McCay that his editor deemed “the best cartoon Mr. McCay ever made.” The ever-popular New Yorker section is led by a recently rediscovered Edward Gorey cover, Cat Fancy, of a cat delightfully lost on a floral-clad comforter.

Edward Gorey, Cat Fancy, watercolor, graphite & ink, cover for The New Yorker, 1993, published 2018. $10,000 to $15,000.
Charles Saxon, Practice Swing, charcoal & watercolor, cover for The New Yorker, 1970. $2,000 to $3,000.
Charles Addams, “How many times have I told you – always read the labels.” ink & wash, for The New Yorker. $4,000 to $6,000.


Winsor McCay, Old Death Grins at Them, pen & ink, for Hamilton Evening Journal, 1930. $6,000 to $9,000.
Charles Addams, Uncle Fester shopping for Knives, watercolor, pen & ink. $6,000 to $9,000.
Saul Steinberg, Time Morph Triptych, pen, ink & graphite. $4,000 to $6,000.

Other Highlights

Richard Powers, Star Mother, mixed media, cover for the book by Sydney J. Van Scyoc, 1976. $4,000 to $6,000.
Ludwig Bemelmans, So hounds won’t know which way he went, ink, gouache & watercolor, for Welcome Home, 1960. $4,000 to $6,000.
Aubrey Beardsley, Initial letter W, pen & ink, ornamental device for Book XVI, chapter I of Le Morte d’Arthur, 1894. $4,000 to $6,000.

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