Illustration Art: December 15, 2022 Auction Highlights

Lot 241: Edward Gorey, Papering the Tree, cover illustration for The New Yorker, watercolor, graphite & ink, 1992. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

December’s Illustration Art sale marks ten full years of auctions since the department’s inception. To celebrate this milestone, we’ve included many of the illustrators who appeared in that first catalogue, several for whom we’ve set auction records and developed collecting interest for our buyers over the years. 

Within it, you’ll find fascinating original works of narrative art from children’s books, novels and magazines; advertising art; theater, fashion, and costume design; and a fun array of cartoons, comics, and animation art. We hope you enjoy this decenary celebration sale.

Children’s Illustrations

Children’s illustrations include a famous scene from one of the favorite Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, a lovely fairyland scene by Margaret Tarrant, and two charming W. W. Denslow “Three Bears” illustrations among a host of other favorites like Harrison Cady, Johnny Gruelle, and Maurice Sendak. 

Lot 142: Ludwig Bemelmans, “Miss Clavel again quite well” illustration for Madeline’s Christmas, ink, watercolor & collage, 1956. Estimate $50,000 to $70,000.


Lot 10: Lonie Bee, Uncle Sam enjoying a beer, likely illustration for a Pabst Blue Ribbon billboard, oil on canvas, 1989. Estimate $2,500 to $3,500.

American & British Book and Magazine Illustration

This bountiful section includes examples by American and European Golden Age artists, including a 1904 Howard Pyle oil for a Harper’s Magazine story, a Grimm’s Fairy tale illustration by Arthur Rackham, an unusual 1938 advertisement illustration for Kentucky bourbon by Norman Rockwell, and canvases by Dean Cornwell. 

Lot 59: Rockwell Kent, “And then, without more ado, sat quietly down there.” illustration for Moby Dick, pen & ink, 1930. Estimate $7,000 to $10,000.

Related Reading

Theatre, Costume & Fashion

A robust section of Stage, Costume, and Fashion boasts designs by the late scenic designer Tony Walton, Al Hirschfeld’s drawing of the Broadway hit “A Little Night Music” signed by Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim, the cast, and crew, and a large, colorful painting by Cecil Beaton of Katharine Hepburn starring in her only stage musical, as fashion icon Coco Chanel.

At Auction December 15: left: Lot 115: Al Hirschfeld, “A Little Night Music,” ink on board, signed by the entire cast & crew, 1973. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000; right: Lot 102: Cecil Beaton, Katharine Hepburn as Coco Chanel, costume design for the Broadway musical “Coco,” watercolor & gouache, 1969. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000. 

Cartoons, Comics & Animation including The New Yorker

The always fun section of Comics, Cartoons, Animation, and Caricature includes Charles Addams, Garry Trudeau, Roz Chast, Rick Meyerowitz, George Booth, and Ed Sorel. The sale ends with the ever-popular sub-category of The New Yorker, crowned by an extraordinary Christmas cover image by Edward Gorey, the only cover for that magazine published in his lifetime. 

Lot 239: William Henry Cotton, Spring Fairy Running the Red Light, illustration for the cover of The New Yorker, gouache, 1943.

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