Illustration Art from the June 15, 2023 Auction

A standout offering of original illustration art features in the June 15 sale of Fine Books & Autographs. Below is a selection of highlights from the auction.

Charles Schulz

Charlie Brown and all the Peanuts Gang have been a vital part of American life since Charles Schulz introduced the comic strip Peanuts on October 2, 1950. A member of the Tarzana Elementary School’s PTA was an acquaintance of the cartoonist and asked him if he might consider donating drawings of his famous characters to decorate the 90-foot overpass of concrete and steel. These sketches were then blown up as alternating life-size panels across the span. The bridge was initially constructed to give the schoolchildren safe passage over periodic flooding at the intersection. The panels have proven to be remarkably resilient to the ravages of time and the weather. Everybody today knows it as the Snoopy Bridge. On the verso of the drawing of Snoopy dancing is an earlier abandoned sketch.

Robert Richards

Richards began his career as an illustrator in New York, sketching fashion collections for newspapers and beauty illustrations for brands such as L’Oréal and Revlon. He went on to create posters and illustrations for Broadway shows including Noel Coward‘s Present Laughter and Legs Diamond, one of the many shows he worked on for Peter Allen. A friend to many musicians, he created album cover art for Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, and Peggy Lee. He devoted his last years to drawing gay erotic art both as fine art and for illustrations in Mandate and other publications. In 2018, he was featured in a Kate Spade advertising campaign along with other celebrities such as Jourdan Dunn, Iris Apfel, and Jon Batisste.

Paul Rand

Born Peretz Rosenbaum to an Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, Paul Rand was one of the most important graphic designers of the second half of the 20th Century. He studied with George Grosz at the Art Students League and admired Paul Klee’s work tremendously. He revolutionized corporate identities with his simple, dynamic logos for ABC, Cummins Engine, Enron, IBM, UPS and other firms, some of which are still in use today. In the 1950s, Rand and his wife Ann produced several charming minimalist picture books. This trio of pictures belongs to a story about an acorn named Ackie, but it was never published and possibly never completed.

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser, Italian Baroque Music, preliminary drawing for the album cover of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra under conductor Edmond de Stouts as issued by Vanguard Everyman Classics in 1966. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.

 As a founder of the legendary Push Pin Studios, Milton Glaser was one of the most influential graphic artists of his generation. He brought his witty Pop sensibility to book and magazine illustrations, posters and album covers, and designed many clever typefaces. He is perhaps best remembered for his I Love NY logo that has promoted New York City since 1977 and his 1966 poster of Bob Dylan with a rainbow snarl of hair. In 2009, President Barack Obama presented him with the National Medal of the Arts as the only graphic designer to be so honored.

Balt Bralds

Bralt Bralds, The Search for Adam & Eve, cover design for Newsweek, 1988. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

Dutch-born Bralt Bralds has worked in the United States as a successful commercial artist since moving here in 1978. His hyperrealistic art has appeared on the covers of Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Time, Der Spiegel and other magazines. His painting of Black Adam and Eve, illustrating the cover story on a controversial theory about the African origins of human life, caused an uproar for portraying them as brown-skinned with chemically curled hair. Bralds explained to reporter Itabari Njeri in “COLORISM: In American Society, Are Lighter-Skinned Blacks Better Off?” (Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1988) that his original concept was “to make a black Adam and Eve. Meaning to me a real African.” But the magazine wanted a more contemporary look to appeal to as many readers as possible so the cover had to reflect that wish. Today Bralds is devoted to fine art rather than illustration.

Roger Antoine Duvoisin

Roger Antoine Duvoisin, Garden Show, study for a cover design for The New Yorker, 1937. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

Swiss born Roger Duvoisin studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Alberto Giacometti was a classmate. An American textile manufacturer brought him to America as a designer, but when the company failed in the Great Depression, he turned to illustrating children’s books. He was one of the first artists to introduce Modernism to American picture books and won the Caldecott Medal in 1948. Two of the most profound influencers on his work were painter Henri Matisse and child psychologist Jean Piaget. He also designed New Yorker covers from the 1930s into the 1950s. This study varies only slightly from the published version.

Elenore Plaisted Abbott

Elenore Plaisted studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but she considered the most profound influence on her art was Howard Pyle when he taught her at Drexel Institute. She was a superb watercolorist who also painted portraits and landscapes. She married another artist, Charles Yarnall Abbott, in 1898. She was a prolific contributor to books and magazines, but she always preferred illustrating fairy tales. Her edition of Grimm, for which she chose the stories, was part of The Scribner’s Illustrated Classics.

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