Illustrations from children’s lit come to life at Swann auction, June 9

Al Hirschfeld, ‘Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’ est. $15,000-$25,000

Al Hirschfeld, ‘Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’ est. $15,000-$25,000

NEW YORK — The spring Illustration Art sale at Swann Galleries is set to come across the block on Thursday, June 9. The auction will feature a rich selection of children’s picture book art from the collection of the late Emily and Sam Bush. The sale will also feature theater set and costume design, advertising art, works from notable picture books, literary publications, cartoons and comics from esteemed illustrators. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The selection from the Emily and Sam Bush Collection includes works by Caldecott winners Trina Schart Hyman with a 1986 illustration for The Water of Life: A Tale from Brothers Grimm, retold by Barbara Rogansky, featuring the prints and his brothers, estimated at $1,000-$1,500; Alice and Martin Provensen with The Swan Maiden, created for Howard Pyle’s 1971 story and estimated at $2,000-$3,000; Cricket Magazine covers by Hilary Knight, estimated at $3,000-$4,000; and Tasha Tudor’s iconic portrait of Mary Lennox for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden, estimated at $7,000-$10,000. Emily and Sam Bush opened Bush Galleries in Norwich, Vermont in 1984 as one of the earliest retail shops specializing in original children’s book art. They eventually expanded to Boston and Carmel, California. Though they also handled international artists, they remained loyal to promoting the work of New England illustrators.

Additional children’s and picture book illustrations include War, a circa-1900-to-1902 illustration by then 18-year-old N.C. Wyeth from a series he created for his maternal grandparents, estimated at $3,000-$4,000; the frontispiece for The Five Senses by Angela M. Keyes, estimated at $12,000-$18,000; a highly detailed 1868 drawing by Eleanor Vere Boyle for The Story Without an End, estimated at $15,000-$25,000; and a fascinating archive from the collection of illustrator Bob Childress, which includes production material for Fun with Our Family, a title in the renowned Dick & Jane readers. This last is estimated at $5,000-$7,500.

Tasha Tudor illustration for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, ‘The Secret Garden,’ est. $7,000-$10,000

Tasha Tudor illustration for Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden,’ est. $7,000-$10,000

Theatre and set designs are emphasized by Al Hirschfeld’s 1979 New York Times caricature of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award–winning musical Sweeney Todd, which carries an estimate of $15,000-$25,000. Also of note is Alexandra Exter’s stage design for the 1921 Kamerny Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

General advertising, book and magazine illustrations include works from the Golden Age through contemporary narrative art. Highlights include Neysa McMein’s 1921 Wallace Silver advertisement The Admirable Hostess, estimated at $6,000-$9,000; Roger Hane’s 1971 De Beers ad A Love by the Stars, estimated at $15,000-$25,000; Jay Paul Jackson’s circa-1940 illustration created for the American Negro Exposition, Etta Moten Barnett Dancing, estimated at $800-$1,200; and Harold Anderson’s cover illustration for a 1935 issue of American Druggist magazine, estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

The section of cartoons, comics and animation forms a strong offering for collectors. Notable cartoons include a run of works created for MAD Magazine by Don Martin, each carrying identical estimates of $4,000-$6,000. Charles Addams is featured with a drawing of Uncle Fester estimated at $4,000-$6,000, and New Yorker cartoons by Richard Taylor are on offer, estimated at $700-$1,000 apiece. Classic comic strip characters represented in the lineup include Felix the Cat, Blondie, Terry and the Pirates and Pogo. Animation artwork and drawings for The Simpsons, The Beatles, and the studios of Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera round out the sale.


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