Record prices smashed in Heritage’s latest Illustration Art auction New records set by H.J. Ward, Norman Saunders and Robert Fuqua; Martignette Estate Pin-up Art continues strong in $2.59 million event
the pack, those of Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas, and Charles Martignette, from whose epic collection many of the best examples of these artists spring. The Aug. 17 Heritage Auction proved no exception to the rule when Elvgren’s A Fast Takeoff (A Speedy Takeoff), 1954, brought $95,600 and Vargas’ Varga Girl, Esquire calendar illustration, February 1946, realized $77,675.
“Martignette continues to be the standard bearer,” said Jaster. “We’re halfway through his amazing collection and it has continued to impress in both quality and price.”
Further classic Pin-up highlights included records for Peter Darro’s Pin-Up in a Negligee, which impressed collectors to the tune of $22,705, and Maxine Stevens’ (aka Maxine Sunderman Runci) 1950 Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration A Pair of Winners, which showed the artist’s enduring popularity with price realized of $14,340.
Modern Pin-up and Glamour Art has continued to show increased prices and interest over the past year, with several artists realizing consistently significant prices. Modern examples in this auction that caught the eye of collectors included John C. Kacere’s 1988 canvas Anne 88, which realized $71,700, and Undressing, from the late great Patrick Nagel, which finished the auction at $15,535.
It certainly bears mentioning that classic Golden Age American illustration also continued to perform very well at auction, even if it wasn’t the main focus of this particular event, as evidenced by the price of $28,680 paid for Joseph Francis Kernan’s Hunter with Dogs, Outdoor Life cover illustration, c. 1940, a record price for the artist.
All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
Heritage’s upcoming October 15 Illustration Art auction in New York, the first major auction conducted under the auspices of the newly opened Heritage Auctions’ New York City offices, will be dominated by the greatest selection of Golden Age material Heritage has yet offered — names such as Rockwell, Leyendecker, Parrish, and Pyle, and including many of the very best paintings from the Charles Martignette Estate.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.
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Noah Fleisher, Public Relations Director