Pat Sullivan Felix The Cat Comic Strip, 1927, Exhib
Pat Sullivan Felix the Cat comic strip, 1927, Exhibited Description: Patrick "Pat" Sullivan (2 February 1887, Sydney, New South Wales – 15 February 1933, United States) was an Australian cartoonist, pioneer animator and film producer, best known for producing the first Felix the Cat silent cartoons. Sullivan arrived in the United States around 1910, after spending several months in London. He worked as assistant to newspaper cartoonist William Marriner, and drew a couple of strips of his own. When Marriner died in 1914 Sullivan joined the new animated cartoon studio set up by Raoul Barre. In 1916 William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, set up a studio to produce animated cartoons based on his paper's strips and hired Barre's best animators. Sullivan decided to start his own studio and made a series called ‘Sammy Johnsin’, based on a Marriner strip on which he had worked.It is a matter of some dispute whether Felix was created by Sullivan or his top animator Otto Messmer. American animation historians have accepted Messmer's claim without question, as he was the principal animator on the Felix series. However, it is not proven that Messmer invented the cat and was not working to Sullivan's brief. After the airing of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's Rewind episode on the dispute in 2004, supporters of Pat Sullivan have suggested that his 1917 film called The Tail of Thomas the Kat (3Mar17 MP866) might be a prototype Felix, and have demonstrated that the handwriting in Feline Follies, the 1919 film that triggered the Felix series, was Sullivan's rather than Messmer's. A sketch for fan by Pat Sullivan, samples such as this were used to match Sullivan's letteringAs Mickey Mouse was gaining popularity among theatre audiences through sound cartoons by late 1928, Sullivan, after years of refusing to convert Felix to sound, finally agreed to use sound in Felix's cartoons. Unfortunately, Sullivan did not carefully prepare to convert Felix to sound, and put sound in cartoons that the studio had already completed. By 1930, Felix had faded from the screen. Sullivan relented in 1933, and announced that Felix would return in sound, but died that year before production began. [from Wikipedia].
The present lot comes from The Charles L. Howard Collection of Early Comic Art & Original Political Illustration, comprised of nearly 800 Pre-WWII original illustrations by over 500 listed illustrators that we will be offering over several sessions. Charles L. Howard, Esq. was a leading railroad industry figure between the Wars, serving as a chief officer for the Santa Fe Railroad and council to the American and Western Railway Assns. Encyclopedic in scope and with extensive New York, Ohio, Illinois and California subjects, much of the Howard Collection’s political art was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939 and many of the original comic strips were shown at various educational institutions prior to 1947. The works have been in storage for decades and come to auction from a descendent of the family.
Approx. Dimensions or Size: Please see images for included size indications.
Hess Fine Auction shipping USA$58. In House
Estimated weight of package:
Package size: 32x32x2
The state of preservation of these comic strips that are on average over 75 years old is quite exceptional. Very, very few have any creases, tears or losses to the paper and the ink has remained uniformly vivid thanks to the family’s dry flat storage. Given that these were working drawings from which prints were made the expected edge markings, blue highlightings, notations, inscriptions, pasted labels, tack holes, staples, glue residues and scattered artist and proofer’s corrections can be found variously on the examples as illustrated in the photographs. These all add to the authenticity and charm of the newsroom and pressroom atmosphere between the Wars, serving to reinforce the iconic status of these rare surviving testimonies to the comic illustrator’s art. In a few examples additional notations have been made in the description section of the catalogue text for significant damage, however the condition sensitive collector is encouraged to contact our sale expert for additional lot details in advance of the auction date.