Heritage Auctions’ Illustration Art sale tops $1.5M

Illustration Art

Patrick Nagel (American, 1945-1984) Untitled, 1982, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. Price realized: $112,500. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A flurry of competitive bidding drove Patrick Nagel’s Untitled, 1982, to $112,500 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Illustration Art Auction April 24. The sale, which boasted sell-through rates of 98.3% by value and 97.6% by lots sold, amassed $1,540,986 in total sales, topping the preauction estimate of $1,073,150 by nearly 44%. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“Patrick Nagel was an enormously successful artist whose popularity is as high as ever,” said Ed Jaster, Heritage Auctions’ senior vice president. “His work has been popular in pop culture and advertising for decades, making it no surprise that the demand led to such an impressive result.”

The sale’s top lot (above) soared past its estimate of $60,000-$80,000, and captures the artist’s signature style of images of beautiful women, often depicted with dark hair and eyebrows and dark or bright red lips. The style captures the roots of early 20th-century graphic design, and has been utilized extensively in fashion and music, including on the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio album.

Also climbing past its estimates was Gil Elvgren Neat Trick, 1953, which found a new home at $52,500. The painting (below) was reproduced as figure 320 in Gil Elvgren All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups by Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel (Taschen, 1999), and was accompanied in the auction by an original 1969 calendar.

Illustration Art

Gil Elvgren (American, 1914-1980) ‘Neat Trick,’ 1953 oil on canvas, 30½ x 24in. Price realized: $52,500. Heritage Auctions image

Henry Richard Van Dongen’s Earthman Beware! the magazine cover of Super Science Stories, June 1951, sparked otherworldly demand among more than a dozen collectors, more than a dozen of whom drove the final price to $42,500, more than eight times its high estimate of $5,000.

Illustration Art

Henry Richard Van Dongen (American, 1920) ‘Earthman Beware!’ ‘Super Science Stories’ magazine cover, June 1951, oil on canvas, 19 x 14in. Price realized: $42,500. Heritage Auctions image

Enoch Bolles Dancer, Breezy Stories magazine cover, August 1935, led a strong selection of pinup art when it closed at $42,500. From the sale’s Sordoni Collection, the oil on canvas is initialed lower left.

Illustration Art

Enoch Bolles (American, 1883-1976) ‘Dancer,’ ‘Breezy Stories’ magazine cover, August 1935, oil on canvas, 27 x 22in. Price realized: $42,500. Heritage Auctions image

The auction contained a strong selection of artwork that appeared on magazine covers, including Hugh Joseph Ward Desert Madness, Spicy Adventure Stories magazine cover, May 1935, which brought $33,750.

Illustration Art

Hugh Joseph Ward (American, 1909-1945) ‘Desert Madness,’ ‘Spicy Adventure Stories’ magazine cover, May 1935, oil on canvas, 20 x 14in. Price realized: $33,750. Heritage Auctions image

The auction included three Weird Tales Magazine covers. Nearly a dozen bidders drove the result for Margaret Brundage The Slithering Shadow, Weird Tales pulp magazine cover, September 1933 past its estimates until it closed at $27,500, Virgil Finlay’s The Thief of Forthe, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1937, brought $25,000 and Lee Brown Coye, The Vampire, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1947, tied its world auction record at $18,750.

Illustration Art

Margaret Brundage (American, 1900-1976) ‘The Slithering Shadow,’ ‘Weird Tales’ magazine cover, September 1933, pastel on paper, 24in x 18in. Price realized: $27,500. Heritage Auctions image

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:
– Patrick Nagel Glove, Commemorative #6: $30,000.
– Margaret Brundage The Slithering Shadow, Weird Tales pulp magazine cover, September 1933: $27,500.
– Alberto Vargas Merry Widow, 1951: $27,500.
– Gil Elvgren A Put-Up Job, Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration, 1955: $27,500.
– Gil Elvgren The Ace of Hearts: $25,000.
– Virgil Finlay The Thief of Forthe, Weird Tales magazine cover, July 1937: $25,000.

View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/