NEW YORK – A grouping of the most important names in Illustration Art, with a particular focus on the great names of Golden Age illustration, will anchor Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 15 Signature® Illustration Art Auction taking place at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (The Ukranian Institute), 2 East 79th Street. The auction marks the first major event for Heritage in the city since the September opening of Heritage Auctions New York City at 445 Park Avenue.
“This auction will feature some of the very best illustration pieces we’ve ever offered,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage.” We have assembled an excellent survey of the history of illustration art here, which we believe is of particular importance given that the illustration art market has exploded in recent years, and is more competitive and high-profile than ever before.”
Among the important artists represented will be Maxfield Parrish, the great and influential American Neo-Classicist, whose 1904 book illustration, The Oaks, carries a pre-auction estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. The illustration was the frontispiece for Guy Wetmore Carryl’s “The Garden of Years and Other Poems.”
No Illustration Art auction with a focus on Golden Age illustration would be complete without an offering from Norman Rockwell, and this event will be graced with his 1945 oil painting “Al Smith Was Fellowman to Every Man,” a masterful portrait that comes to the auction from the Estate of Charles Martignette, the greatest collection of illustration art ever offered at public auction. The Rockwell carries a pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $75,000.
Besides Rockwell, the most prolific – and now famous – Saturday Evening Post cover artist was J.C. Leyendecker, whose paintings have consistently come to demand high five and six figure prices. Leyendecker is well represented in this auction with his resplendent holiday-themed Saturday Evening Post Cover, featuring a child kneeling in prayer before his mother. The painting is expected to bring between $60,000 and $80,000.
Few American illustration artists are as well-loved, or have examples of their work as highly sought-after as the Brandywine School’s Jessie Willcox-Smith, and her mixed media on board painting “The Daisy Wreath” is expected to be one of the most hotly anticipated lots of the auction. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
One of the most special, and iconic, pieces of illustration art in the auction is Garth Williams’ original graphite and ink on paper drawing for the cover of E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” 1952, which is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000.
Arthur Rackham, the illustrator best known as the artist behind the original drawings in “Peter Pan,” is represented in this auction with his brilliant 1904 watercolor and ink “The Fish King and the Dog Fish,” originally an illustration for the story “Adventures in Wizard Land” that appeared in Little Folks magazine in 1905. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
The paintings of James Avati have received a good deal of attention, and ever-increasing prices realized, since the opening of Martignette’s Estate, and his cover painting for “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger, first edition paperback, New American Library/Signet, March 1953 is certainly Avati’s most famous painting, and it is being offered here with a pre-auction estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. This cover art was used in subsequent printings of “The Catcher in the Rye,” but was heavily cropped and obscured.
“We’ve been saving a number of absolute masterpieces for this special New York sale,” says Consignment Director Todd Hignite, “The selection of classic book and magazine illustration being offered is unparalleled.”
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