June 9, 2011

Four Interesting Things In Bonham's Illustrations Auction

The big ticket in Bonham's upcoming 20th century illustration auction in New York is undoubtedly the big [16x20] watercolor Maurice Sendak created for a 1990 conference poster for the International Board of Books for Young People, which is IBBY, not IBBYP? Which, anyway, $400,000-700,000?? Wow, OK. [Or not. It didn't sell.]

In basically random order, here are four other things that I think are more interesting:


Lot 226, original unused artwork for Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, est. $15-20,000: There are a couple of these book-sized drawings in the sale, and they're nice. Though I'm confused why the Slobodkina Foundation is selling off her work. [Or trying to. This lot didn't sell either, though the Caps lots before and after it did fine.]


Lot 120: inscribed 1st editions by Margaret Wise Brown, est. $8-10,000: I can totally see, though, why the Slobodkina Foundation might raise money by selling signed first editions given to and between the artist and the author, especially when that author is Margaret Wise Brown, who gave Slobodkina her start in the children's book business. Also, Phyra is a nice name.
[but it doesn't move books, apparently, even with MWB inscriptions. Unsold.]

Also, The Little Fireman is one of the landmarks in avant-garde children's book illustration. It wasn't until 1993 that a restored edition of The Little Fireman was reissued with the original colors.


Lot 3: Hans Christian Andersen, Paper cutout silhouette, est. $12-18,000 [Can I pick'em or what? This lot was withdrawn. 0 for 4 so far!]

I'm always kind of in awe of the paper cutouts Hans Christian Andersen would make for the children of the aristocratic families he was constantly couch surfing off of. I mean, on the one hand, they can be these incredible objects in themselves, and to think that he made them as he was sitting there telling the story just blows my mind. On the other, what a grifter, he had the luxury mooching game down COLD. Maybe I learn to do this, and I won't have to fly commercial to Art Basel anymore.


Lot 92: An ink & pencil drawing of Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard, est. $100-150,000

This little 3x5 card-sized drawing is just awesome. I don't think it's the original art Shepard used to illustrate the end of 1926 Milne's book, Winnie-the-Pooh, but it's a very early [1928] copy. At least that's how I interpret it. Some Pooh connoisseur with more money to burn than I have may get the chance to study it up close. Just do keep it out of reach of the children.

UPDATE And that's just what happened. DT reader MPH wrote to correct me. After Winnie-the-Pooh came out in 1926, Shepard exhibited and sold his original drawings through the Sporting Gallery. [See the description on another Shepard lot, several original drawings of Eeyore.] That's the label on the back of this Piglet one. Adjust your bidding strategy accordingly.

UPDATE UPDATE: We finally have a winner! The Shepard drawing sold for $194,500, including premium.
20th Century Illustration Art, June 22, 2011 [bonhams.com via dt reader dt]

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