Feline artworks by famous artists & writers featured in Quinn’s Central Virginia’s Nov. 11-12 auction
LOUISA, Va. – There was very little unfinished business in Patrick Eddington’s life. For 30 years, the respected artist and art teacher inspired his appreciative students at Salt Lake City’s Highland High School and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. In September of this year, six months after Eddington passed away following a brief illness, the art gallery at Highland High was dedicated to him, a testament to his enduring legacy. But Eddington harbored a deeply important dream of his own that was never fulfilled.
More than a decade ago, the teacher known as “Pat the Cat” because of his unabashed fondness for felines, embarked on an ambitious project in which he asked famous artists and writers to create original artworks of cats. Eddington planned to exhibit those paintings and drawings, and to publish them in a book. An extraordinary cache of artworks was amassed, but sadly, the project never saw daylight. Now, with the blessing of Eddington’s estate, the assemblage of art will be auctioned on Nov. 12 at Quinn’s Central Virginia gallery, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
“The story of how Patrick Eddington acquired the original Cat Project artworks is quite remarkable,” said Matthew Quinn, executive vice president of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. “For years he carried on an extensive correspondence with a staggering number of visual artists and writers. His genial letters, little gifts, and certainly his persistence, charmed many of them into contributing to the project. That was a feat in itself.”
The 245-lot auction includes artworks of various media and styles. Most are original, one-of-a-kind creative works. Lot 65, pictured at the top, is a Ralph Steadman (British, b. 1936-) mixed media on paper titled Cats Always Do This When They Like You… Have You Noticed? Signed and dated 7 August 2000, the work measures 19 x 32½ inches (matted and framed). Its conservative auction estimate is set at $400-$600.
The inimitable cartoon style of Robert Crumb (a k a R. Crumb, American, b. 1943-) dominates Lot 33. A full page of hand-written correspondence is highlighted by an intricately drawn image of Crumb’s cat Bernie sitting on the sleeping artist’s chest. The personal missive was sent from the artist’s residence in France and dated “Sept. 1st, ’01.” Absolutely unique, the illustrated letter offers interesting personal observations from Crumb in a chatty,conversational style. Estimate: $300-$500
Lot 32, a marvelous, signed and dated (6/17/99) Al Hirschfeld (American, 1903-2003) sketch of a dancing cat with straw hat and cane is coupled with a handwritten note from the legendary New York Times caricaturist. Titled Song and Dance Cat, the ink sketch on paper is estimated at $80-$120.
Esteemed fantasy/sci fi writer Ray Bradbury (American, 1920-2012) crafted cat-centric prose titled Their Engines Drive the Summer with Their Purr that was later illustrated by Eddington and turned in an edition of 50. The piece in the auction (Lot 158), which is signed by Bradbury, is No. 34 from the edition and expected to make $80-$120.
The original cat-theme ink-on-paper art for the Mexican comic strip Gordo that appeared 10/30/1978 was the gift of its creator Gus Arriola (Mexican/American, 1917-2008). Artist-signed and accompanied by personal correspondence from Arriola to Eddington – some of it “cat” illustrated – Lot 34A is estimated at $200-$300.
Four lots contain photography of jungle cats taken by eminent wildlife photographer Peter Beard (American, b. 1938-). Lot 146, shown below, a 1984 gelatin silver and mixed-media print titled Masailand near Glen Cottar’s Camp, measures 9 by 13½ inches (sight) and depicts two adult lions walking as a pair. Estimate: $1,000-$2,000. Lot 80 is a compilation of Beard prints, some of them annotated; personal photographs, and original envelopes artist-decorated in collage style. Estimate: $1,000-$2,000
Patrick Eddington also had a passion for Southwestern, outsider and folk art. His personal art collection will be auctioned in a 523-lot session held on Nov. 11, the day before the sale of the Cat Project art.
Eddington traveled extensively throughout the Four Corners area of the Southwest in search of Native-American art. His experiences led to the co-authoring (with Susan Makov) of The Trading Post Guidebook, editions I and II. The books list trading posts, galleries, auctions and museums in the region where art can be purchased.
Among the top-estimated Southwestern artworks in the collection are Lot 342, an Emmi Whitehorse (Navajo, N.M., b. 1957-) oil and chalk on paper laid to canvas work signed and titled Influent on verso, estimated at $2,000-$4,000; and Lot 393, shown below, a Virgil Ortiz (Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., b. 1969-) painted clay feline with a bird on its head estimated at $1,000-$2,000.
There are many other noteworthy artworks in the Eddington collection. Lot 119 is a Francis Bacon (British, 1909-1992) artist’s proof hand-colored lithograph titled D’Apres Three Studies of the Human Body and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Lot 22, shown below, is a polychrome-painted cutout wood sculpture of a Coca-Cola bottle by Rev. Howard Finster (American, 1916-2001). Titled Mr. Coke, the 1989 work is signed and dated and estimated at $800-$1,200.
Quinn’s Central Virginia’s Nov. 11-12 auction will commence at 11am EST on both days, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.com. For additional information on any item, call 434-293-2904.