Gil Elvgren’s ‘Skirting the Issue’ pin-up art carries low estimate of $30,000

BEVERLY HILLS – The Jerry Weist Collection of Science-Fiction and Fantasy art anchors Heritage Auctions’ June 27-28 Illustration Art Signature Auction with iconic art from greats of the genre such as Frank R. Paul, J. Allen St. John, Michael Whelan, Alex Schomburg, Wally Wood, Hannes Bok and many others.

“This is our second special auction from the estate of the pioneering collector, publisher, historian and scholar Jerry Weist,” said Todd Hignite, vice president of Heritage Auctions, “who many of us had the pleasure to also name as a good friend.”

Gil Elvgren illustration

Gil Elvgren (American, 1914-1980), “Skirting the Issue (Breezing Up),” 1956, oil on canvas, 30 inches by 24 inches (sight), signed lower left, estimate: $30,000 to $50,000. Photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.

This is one of the most important collections of artwork from the genre to ever be offered and the impeccable selection represents the last substantial group from the estate. Highlights include Frank R. Paul’s masterful Wonder Stories pulp cover, August 1930 (estimate $10,000 and up) and Michael Whelan’s amazing “Descent, The Martian Chronicles” cover, 1990 (estimate $10,000 and up), from the ground-breaking work of fiction by the recently passed Ray Bradbury.

“Among many other accomplishments, Jerry wrote a superb biography of Ray Bradbury, ‘Bradbury: An Illustrated Life,’ and was an avid Bradbury collector as well,” said Hignite. This auction includes several lots – including the art to some of the greatest EC Comics adaptations ever done – related to that great genius of science fiction, who recently passed away at age 91.

Pin-up and pulp art continue to be incredibly hot areas of illustration art collecting, and this auction promises a wide selection of rare and stunning pieces, many of which come from the continued boon of The Estate of Charles Martignette, led by Gil Elvgren’s vibrant “Skirting the Issue (Breezing Up),” estimated at $30,000 and up and “Up in the Air (Whooooooosh!),” 1965, also with a $30,000 and up estimate; the group of Elvgrens in this sale are among the nicest Heritage has ever offered.

Hannes Bok (American, 1914-1964), interior pulp illustration, 1950, 7 inches by 7 inches (sight), signed lower right, estimate: $800 to $1,200.

Other stand-outs include masterworks from all periods of Alberto Vargas’ illustrious career, including “Glamour Pin-Up,” circa 1940s, one of the great master’s best works, estimated at $50,000 and up, a rare Saturday Evening Post cover by Charles Gates Sheldon, “Lady with Puppet,” The Saturday Evening Post cover, Oct. 31, 1925, as well as a grouping by contemporary Olivia, who rivals any of the mid-century masters of the female form.

A richly varied selection of magazine cover, story and advertising art from the Golden Age of American Illustration is also featured, including “Study for The Saturday Evening Post” cover, March 10, 1934, by J.C. Leyendecker, estimated at $15,000 and up.

Many more of the undisputed greats are represented, including Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, James Montgomery Flagg and Frank Earle Schoonover, just to name a few, along with a beautiful selection of children’s book art, including charming “Where the Wild Things Are” sketches by the late Maurice Sendak and Brownie Book story illustrations by Palmer Cox.

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