Auction Record for Ilonka Karasz in Fall 2019 Illustration Art Sale

Our sale of Illustration Art on Tuesday, December 10 featured an array of original works, from well-known characters of children’s literature to striking New Yorker covers and theater designs. The auction was a success, with seven of the top 20 lots ultimately acquired by institutions.

 

Children’s Illustrations

 
Ludwig Bemelmans, Sketch for Madeline, gouache & ink of Miss Clavel and Madeline picking flowers in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Ludwig Bemelmans, Sketch for Madeline, gouache & ink. Sold for $22,500.
 

Children’s illustrations proved to be the centerpiece of the sale with a gouache and ink sketch for Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline, which featured Miss Clavel and Madeline picking flowers in front of the Eiffel Tower, selling for $22,500. Also by Bemelmans were two 1947 watercolor, ink and wash drawings for the artist’s A Tale of Two Glimps that sold for $7,500.

 
Ernest H. Shepard, He Lead them into the Chalk-Pit, Till they Stood at the Very Foot, illustration from Bertie's Escapade by Kenneth Grahame of a pig leading two bunnys, 1949.
Ernest H. Shepard, He Lead them into the Chalk-Pit, Till they Stood at the Very Foot, pen & ink, illustration from Bertie’s Escapade by Kenneth Grahame, 1949. Sold for $13,750.
 

Additional childhood favorites included H.A. Rey’s 1939 watercolor and gouache work for Rafi et les 9 singes featuring several of the monkeys skiing down Cecily the giraffe’s neck ($15,000); Ernest H. Shepard’s 1949 pen and ink drawing for Kenneth Grahame’s Bertie’s Escapade ($13,750); and Harry Rountree’s 1901 illustration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, showing an irate Queen of Hearts ($8,125).

 

Dr. Seuss & Charles Schulz

 
Dr. Seuss, All it needs is... Holly Sugar, gouache & collage with a grinch-like character eating pie, billboard for Holly Sugar Corporation, 1955.
Dr. Seuss, All it needs is… Holly Sugar, gouache & collage, billboard for Holly Sugar Corporation, 1955. Sold for $15,000.
 

Further nostalgia-filled illustrations featured one of Dr. Seuss’s 1937 calendar designs for the Thomas D. Murphy company at $17,500. Also by Seuss was a 1955 billboard advertisement for Holly Sugar starring a Grinch-like character, which earned $15,000.

 
Charles Schulz, The Biggest Star Measured So Far, ink & wash, original four-panel Peanuts comic strip, featuring Lucy and Lionel looking at the stars, 1961
Charles Schulz, The Biggest Star Measured So Far, ink & wash, original four-panel Peanuts comic strip, 1961. Sold for $16,250.
 

Two original four-panel Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz performed well: Your Hero Had Feet of Clay, Huh?, 1963, featuring Charlie Brown and Patty, and The Biggest Star Measured So Far, 1961, featuring Linus and Lucy. They sold for $16,250 apiece.

 

The New Yorker

 
Ilonka Karasz, Chop Suey, gouache with graphite featuring an Art Deco nighttime street scene, cover illustration for the August 27, 1927 issue of The New Yorker.
Ilonka Karasz, Chop Suey, gouache with graphite, cover illustration for the August 27, 1927 issue of The New Yorker. Sold for $13,750, a record for the artist.
 

The popular New Yorker section of the sale delivered exceptional results. Charles Addams’s Nevermore, an iconic image of Edgar Allan Poe struggling to find the voice for his famous narrative poem, brought $22,500. Ilonka Karasz’s cover illustration for the August 27, 1927 issue, Chop Suey, garnered a record for the artist at $13,750.

 

Edward Gorey

 
Edward Gorey, Print or Perish, pen, ink, watercolor & wash of a surreal image of statues and people, illustration for the cover of Print Magazine, 1988.
Edward Gorey, Print or Perish, pen, ink, watercolor & wash, illustration for the cover of Print Magazine, 1988. Sold for $16,250.
 

Edward Gorey works from the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust included the magazine illustrations: Print or Perish, a 1988 pen, ink watercolor and wash work for the cover of the January/February issue of Print Magazine ($16,250); and He Will Not Be Right Back After this Message, a 1980 pen, ink, watercolor, graphite and wash illustration for TV Guide Magazine ($8,125). Also of note from the trust were costume designs for the Andre Eglevsky Company 1975 production of the second act of Swan Lake ($10,000) and the 1984 exhibition poster design for Gorey Stories: Books & Drawings by Edward Gorey ($12,500).

 

“I was so pleased to have choice examples from some of the most famous names in illustration in this sale and see them make the list of top lots. It proves that narrative art continues to be a highly collectible field and that Swann is a terrific place to cross-market those works with our long history of specialization in Americana, literature, fine art, and graphic material.”

Christine von der Linn, Illustration Art Director
 
 

Browse the complete list of results from our December 10, 2019 sale of Illustration Art.

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