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Addams, Gorey, Schulz & Seuss Headline March 21 Auction

On Tuesday, March 21, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Illustration Art, featuring original works of art intended for publication. A run of original illustrations for the popular Babar series includes the top lot of the sale—the ink and watercolor design for the cover for the third book, Le Roi Babar, 1933, by Jean de Brunhoff, is estimated to sell between $20,000 and $30,000. Further beloved children’s characters include an illustration for Ludwig Bemelmans’s 1956 Madeline and the Bad Hat, titled “He said – ‘Let’s play a game of tag’ and let a cat out of the bag,” valued at $7,000 to $10,000. The sale will also offer works by Maurice Sendak, as well as several storyboard illustrations from Walt Disney Studios, including Ben Ali Gator and Hyacinth Hippo waltzing the Dance of the Hours for the 1940 classic Fantasia, estimated at $800 to $1,200.

Also available are several original drawings by Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel), led by A Gentle Sport, Forsooth, a charming ink, watercolor and wash dragon first published in Judge Magazine’s April 1929 issue, and a 1930s cartoon for Life magazine titled The Skier and the Walrus (each $8,000 to $12,000).

The largest selection of works by Edward Gorey ever to come to market showcases 12 works by the beloved master of the macabre. The cover for a circa-1950 unrealized work titled The Worsted Monster is valued between $8,000 and $12,000. Additionally, there are costume and set designs, as well as numerous sketches and published illustrations for book covers, which include Chance, a Novel by Joseph Conrad and Cobweb Castle ($3,500 to $5,000 and $6,000 to $9,000, respectively).

Two Peanuts strips by Charles M. Schulz include an early work, titled Here comes the big Polar Bear stalking across the snow!, 1957, featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown, as well as Mister Sensitive, 1974, depicting Snoopy and Lucy (each $6,000 to $9,000).

One staple of Swann Galleries’ Illustration Art auctions is a robust section of cartoons and covers for The New Yorker. This spring’s selection includes original works by Peter Arno, Charles Barsotti, Ilonka Karasz, Saul Steinberg, Tom Toro and Gahan Wilson, from as early as 1933 to as recently as 2016. Charles Addams is represented by Z Line Subway, a 1979 cartoon into which he snuck Uncle Fester, Wednesday and Grandmama from The Addams Family ($6,000 to $9,000).

In addition to the previously mentioned work by Charles Addams, the sale boasts new-to-market works consigned by the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation, including a cartoon depicting the entire Addams Family ($6,000 to $9,000), and a 1957 cover for The New Yorker titled Scuba Galleon, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.

Early magazine covers by Erté include Sports d’Hiver, which graced the Harper’s Bazaar February 1933 issue, valued here at $8,000 to $12,000. Erté is also represented by several of his original set designs and costumes. There are additional early covers by McLelland Barclay, Umberto Brunelleschi and Georges Lepape.

A raucous selection of pulp is led by Harold von Schmidt’s oil painting to accompany a 1935 story in Cosmopolitan, captioned “But my husband—” Cleone gasped. “He’d kill you!” ($10,000 to $15,000). Further selections include Earl Moran’s pastel A Sweet Job, circa 1940, estimated at $6,000 to $9,000, and the oil on canvas Over My Dead Body, 1932, by Remington Schuyler, which was the cover illustration for West magazine ($3,000 to $4,000).

There is a strong run of original works by Al Hirschfeld featuring three iconic pen and ink caricatures depicting Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, commissioned in 1997 and each valued at $7,000 to $10,000. Hirschfeld is additionally represented by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, a gouache painting that was used as the cover for The American Mercury magazine in 1946 ($3,000 to $4,000).

From the nineteenth century come two floral ornaments by Aubrey Beardsley for Le Morte d’Arthur, 1893-94, are led by Spiky Leaves on a Stem ($6,000 to $9,000). A rare pen and ink drawing by the master, Squatting Devil Fishing, for the title page of The Bon-Mots of Sydney Smith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1893, is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.

The auction will be held Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Friday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, March 18 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, March 20 through Tuesday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to noon. For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Illustration Art Specialist Christine von der Linn at 212-254-4710, extension 20 or cv@swanngalleries.com.

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