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
one of his original works as his 1947 True Magazine Pin-Up, featuring a pouting, seductive blond, with a pink phone pinned to her ear - a favorite device of Petty's - rose to $38,837.
Incredible results were also achieved for Art Frahm (a record-setting $32,265 for 1952's Spare), Enoch Bolles (Film Fun Cover, August 1937, $31,070), Fritz Willis (Pin-up in Wicker Chair, $20,315) and William Medcalf (Bus Stop, $19,120).
"While Pin-up and Glamour art provided the most jaw-dropping results," said Jaster, "classic Golden Age art also out-performed everyone’s expectations, with classic Saturday Evening Post covers leading the way."
J.C. Leyendecker showed that he continues to be a powerhouse of early 20th Century illustration as his New Years 1910 Saturday Evening Post cover, featuring an unsure Baby New Year flying a Wright Brothers-style airplane, rose to $77,675. John Ford Clymer, one of America's great landscape illustrators, was amply represented by his Glacier National Park, Saturday Evening Post cover of July 30, 1960, which showed spirit with a $47,800 total, while George Hughes' Dinner Party, Saturday Evening Post cover, November 11, 1961, proved hugely popular, realizing the same total of $47,800. The popularity and good prices for Amos Sewell art also continued as his Little Boy with Dirty Hands, Saturday Evening Post Cover, September 27, 1957, brought $44,812.
Brandywine School luminary, Jesse Willcox Smith, always a favorite in Heritage Auctions Illustration events, showed continued resilience as her idyllic 1902 illustration Checkers, for Scribner's Magazine, brought $83,650 from a determined bidder. Dean Cornwell's Romantic Couple Seated by Piano, Hearst's International magazine illustration, March 1922, an intriguing, atmospheric painting, realized $50,787, while Norman Rockwell's 1942 illustrations for the movie The Magnificent Ambersons brought more than $67,500 total, let by Anne Baxter's movie poster illustration, which brought $29,875. One of James Montgomery Flagg's very best Life Magazine Covers, Conquest of Good and Evil, from July 23, 1910, attested to Flagg's enduring influence as it brought $28,680.
Prices on pulp, pulp-like fiction and paperback art also continued their rapid rise across the board in the auction, with Hugh Joseph Ward's Speed Adventure Stories cover, November 1943, featuring a menacing scene stormy night horror, bringing $41,825 in heated bidding between determined buyers. Original George Rozen artwork also continued to be hot, as his cover for The Shadow, March 1932, emerged at $33,460, while Robert McGinnis's striking, dramatic and moody paperback cover for the 1959 book, Take Off Your Mask brought an impressive $21,510 final price.
“This goes to show that nobody comes close to the prices we achieve for Illustration art, across all genres," said Heritage Auctions' Hignite. "The records we set are nothing short of staggering, as are the results for the lower priced art, the total realized, as well as the sell through rate. It's going to be exciting to see how this all leads into our February Illustration Art auction."
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $700