Elvgren, Leyendecker, Vargas sell strong in record breaking Heritage Auctions Illustration Art sale Charles Martignette Estate continues with spectacular results: $2.175 million for 369 lots; World record prices established for Earl Moran, George Petty and Art Frahm, among others
News-Antique.com - Nov 02,2009 - DALLAS, TX -- Prices on American Illustration Art at Heritage Auctions - particularly those pieces with the Charles Martignette provenance - continued their meteoric climb on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at Heritage Auctions' October Signature Illustration Art Auction, with a jaw-dropping, record-setting $3.48 million total, shattering the previous single auction record, set by Heritage Auctions last July. All prices include the 19.5% Buyer's Premium.
“We’ve learned that it’s impossible to predict the top end of the pin-up market," said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. "We’re seeing new collectors continue to come into the market at very impressive levels - this is easily the hottest current area of collecting for us.”
Overall, the auction boasted an impressive sell-through rate of 92% sold by dollar value and 95.7% sold by number of lots. The Charles Martignette Estate, which realized an astounding $2.175 million for 369 lots, performed even more impressively as it led the way in the auction, with a 99.5% sell-through rate by dollar value, a percentage almost unheard of in the auction world.
Classic pin-up art, Martignette's personal passion, was a major focus of the catalog and the undisputed champion of the auction, with the King of the pin-ups, Gil Elvgren, leading the way with seven major canvases offered in the sale.
“The room was abuzz as the first four paintings offered by the greatest pin-up artist of them all, Gil Elvgren, each closed above six figures," said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions, "which is absolutely unprecedented.”
The top Elvgren, and the top lot of the entire auction, was the 1958 painting On The House which was the subject of intense bidding before finally finishing at $191,200. Elvgren's masterful 1948 pin-up, Sheer Delight (This Soots Me) was not far off the blistering pace set by the top lot, as it soared to a final tally of $155,350, while Something's Bothering You (What's Wrong), Elvgren's brilliantly colorful and scintillating 1957 masterpiece, brought $119,500. Rounding out the top Elvgrens in the auction was Check and Double Check (Now Don't Get Me in a Corner), painted by Elvgren in 1946, which brought $101,575.
For anyone that knows their pin-up art, as the Heritage buyers showed they obviously did, the other top draws of the genre were quite spectacular, if unsurprising, given the obvious incredible quality of the offerings.
Alberto Vargas, always a huge draw in the Heritage Auctions Illustration auction, did not dissapoint as his stunning Pin-Up, 1928 - an early tour de force that suggested the genius of his later "American History" Esquire and Playboy gatefold Vargas Girls - drew much attention was erudite Vargas connoisseurs and a final price of $77,675. A world record was set for the work of Earl Moran, as his seminal and gorgeous Golden Hours, from the early 1930s, shattered the previous record as it brought a $41,825 total and a room full of applause. George Petty, long considered one of the greatest of all pin-up artists, also saw a record setting price for