News-Antique.com - Feb 04,2013 - Heritage Auctions will hold its inaugural Animation Art Signature® Auction Feb. 21, signaling a major step into the category from the world’s third largest auction house. The auction is deep in prime examples of animation art from a wide variety of subjects, including key animation cels from Disney, Warner Brothers, Hannah Barbera, Peanuts, Simpsons, Sponge Bob Squarepants and many other titles from across the spectrum of animation.
“This auction serves as nothing less than a complete survey of the history of animation art from its inception in the 1930s through the turn of the millennium,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation Art at Heritage. “Fans of the classics will have choices from Disney to Warner Brothers and everything in-between, while modern collectors will find pop culture classics from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This is a tremendous opportunity for smart collectors to get in on the ground floor of a resurgence of the category.”
Animation art saw a surge in popularity and prices in the 1980s and 1990s before summarily dropping off the radar of major collectors. In that time, however, the landscape of animation and collecting has changed in radical ways.
“Around the turn of the millennium animation became almost completely digital,” said Lentz. “Hand-drawn and colored art became the exception, not the rule. In the meantime, an entirely new generation of collectors has grown up and come into the means to buy what they want, and what they want is nostalgia for their youth; specifically for the beloved cartoons they spent their Saturdays and weekdays after school with. The result is the revival we’re seeing now.”
No conversation on animation art can be had with talking about Disney, and the legacy of the great studio is very much in evidence in the auction with several pieces representing the best the name has to offer, including a pair of original, one-of-a-kind hand-inked and hand-painted production cels of the Evil Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” along with another cel showing the Queen with an image of herself as the Old Hag. All told, this auction has one of the largest assortments of original artwork from “Snow White” ever offered, which includes – besides the cel art - original drawings, concept art, model sheet and in-studio gags.
More Disney highlights include an original black and white production cel of Mickey Mouse from the 1934 Disney short “Traffic Troubles,” one of roughly less than 50 black and white Mickey production cels known to exist, and an original production cel set up of one of the most memorable scenes in Disney history, the Belle Notte scene from 1955’s “Lady and the Tramp,” where the pair are pictured famously eating spaghetti and original concept artwork by legendary Disney Artists Eyvind Earle and Mary Blair.
From the Chuck Jones Archives, consigned by the Jones family, one of the very early developmental sketches that legendary animator Chuck Jones made of Wile E. Coyote, dating back to within a few years of the character’s