Vargas, Sundblom and Elvgren masterpieces anchor Illustration Art Auction in Beverly Hills Feb. 11-12 at Heritage; Illustration Art poised for another record-breaking year following 2010’s $14.4+ million record total
News-Antique.com - Jan 17,2011 - BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Rare pin-up art from the greatest illustrators to ever pick up paint and brush will be the main draw when Heritage Auctions launches its first Signature® Illustration Art Auction of 2011, Feb. 11-12, at its Beverly Hills offices, continuing the successful pairing of California sun and the gorgeous women of illustration that was begun last year, led by Alberto Vargas’ Gold Carnation (Legacy Nude #9), one of the most important paintings from the great artist’s peak period.
“Our last auction focused primarily on mainstream, Golden Age and Children’s Literature illustrations,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “We wanted to use this auction to get back to big names in pin-ups because collectors want it and we happen to have a strong group of incredible images to offer.”
While it has been the Estate of Charles Martignette that has provided a majority of heft to Heritage’s Illustration Art category for the last 18 months – with still at least another year’s worth of stellar material coming - the Collection of Craig Macmillan, a grouping discerningly amassed over the last two decades, has added a considerable amount of buzz in its own right.
“Collectors will do well to sit up and take serious notice of these offerings,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director, “given that they represent some of the choicest examples by each given artist – virtually all the pin-up greats are included in this collection.”
The collection is especially deep in the work of Alberto Vargas, including, as mentioned above, the show-stopping and exceedingly scarce Gold Carnation (Legacy Nude #9), the ninth in the series of 12 “Legacy Nudes” that Vargas painted for his wife Anna Mae at a low point in their lives after he was fired by Esquire and before he began his long association with Playboy. Vargas is reported to have considered this series his best work, and it is immediately obvious from the stunning quality of the overall body of the work that he put his heart and soul into every image. It is one of the only painted images by the great Vargas used on a Playboy cover and is estimated at $30,000+. Another rare and striking Vargas from Macmillan’s collection is the beguiling Vargas Girl Pin-Up, Playboy, October 1968, which is expected to bring $20,000+.
Also in the auction from Macmillan is one of the greatest pin-ups ever created, and one of the most important Playboy covers ever, in the form of Haddon Sundblom’s Naughty Santa, Playboy Cover, December 1972, estimated at $20,000.
“Sundblom was better known as the artist who defined the modern image of Santa Claus in Coca-Cola ads,” said Hignite. “This image, however, shows his genius as a pin-up artist, though he did very few. In fact, this beauty was Sundblom’s last assignment before his death in 1976, and his full mastery is on obvious display, including a humorous reference to his work for Coke.”
As mentioned above, the Charles Martignette Estate continues to provide