Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Early Gorey Artwork Found


Twenty six drawings are put in a box and forgotten, only to be found decades later. 

What sounds like the beginning of a tale by Edward Gorey is actually the history of a collection of early works by the artist. In an added Goreyesque twist to the take, the art was found by a dealer who was pursuing works by another artist. To read the full article that appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star, go HERE.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Shrinking of Treehorn, The Movie



The Shrinking of Treehorn, the Edward Gorey illustrated 1971 book by Florence Parry Heide is under construction to appear as a feature length film by Imagine Entertainment. Director Ron Howard slated to take on the project. For more information go HERE.



Monday, June 17, 2019

TV Guide Soap Opera Artwork


The Illustration Art auction that took place last week Swann Auction Galleries had a wonderful selection of works by Edward Gorey. Lot #138 was a delightful full color painting that appered in the May 10, 1986 issue of TV Guide. From 1977 through 1993, Mr. Gorey created numerous pieces for the weekly television guide, almost all of them in color. As a general rule, Edward Gorey preferred to create drawings at the size they would be printed. Due to the small format of the magazine, all of the TV guide pieces were drawn/painted larger and were reduced in size to fit the page.

For his TV Guide pieces, Edward Gorey let his playful sense of humor come to the forefront. Mr. Gorey was an avid television viewer who thoroughly enjoyed sitcoms and soap operas. For this piece, the entranced viewer has the wide eyed blank stare of a person who has spent many hours following too much trauma/drama on the television set. The speech bubble is a parody of dialog and the acting abilities of the soap's actors. The wording has been pasted onto the surface of the artwork, indicating that Mr. Gorey's changed the text after completing the artwork. It would be interesting to compare the original wording with the final text.





Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Auction News


Swann Auction Galleries held their semi-annual Illustration Art Auction on Tuesday June 4, 2019 (to view the complete catalog, go to https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/asp/searchresults.asp?st=D&pg=1&ps=10&sale_no=2511). Over 200 lots ranging in subject matter from book & magazine illustration, advertising, and theatrical set & costume designs, guaranteed that this auction had something for everyone. Eight original illustrations by Edward Gorey were spaced throughout the sale. All the art by Mr. Gorey sold, with only one piece selling below the pre-auction estimate, and many going higher.

The eight pieces represented a microcosm of the Edward Gorey's career. Three early pieces included a Pin-Up drawing created as a teenager, a naturalistic rabbit drawing made in the early 1950's, and an unusual "pre-Earbrass"color piece showing two Russian gentlemen enjoying an Easter Tea. The characters in this piece are a transition from the figures decorating Mr. Gorey's wartime letters to friends and family to his fully realized protagonist Mr. Earbrass, from his first published book The Unstrung Harp.

Another departure from Edward Gorey's signature crosshatch style was a mid-60's watercolor illustration from The Recently Deflowered Girl, a piece that at first glance looks like a Charles Addams cartoon.

The 1980's had several nice examples, including a color piece created for TV Guide and an amusing Scottish Golfer who is checking his rule book regarding how to deal with a beastie residing in the hole on the green...does he get the putt or not?
The undisputed stars of the Gorey selections were two pieces created for The New Yorker Magazine and intended for use as cover art. Edward Gorey submitted three cover designs to the magazine in 1992, but only one Christmas-themed piece was used at the time. The other two designs languished in the files, unseen until after the artist's death in 2000. The first, Flappers and Topiary was published in the magazine as a full page tribute to Mr. Gorey just after his passing. This whimsical piece has a muted color pallet and delightful imagery.
Cat Fancy is a masterpiece of subdued color and intricate detail that reflects the time in which it was created. Layers upon layers of fabric, pillows, dust ruffles and duvets adorn an overstuffed bed whose inhabitants are a pair of reclining cats. This wonderful image finally adorned the cover of the magazine in December 2018.










Sunday, May 26, 2019

Balkan Sobraine Cigarettes


Introduced in The Curse of the Blue Figurine, Professor Roderick Childermass, the irascible elderly neighbor and unlikely friend of young Johnny Dixon was one of John Bellairs' more colorful protagonists. The Professor threw fits, yelled, cursed, and was generally bad tempered, but beneath the crusty surface was a kindly man who felt his fits of temper deeply and apologized to his friends often. The Professor was also an accomplished baker, and anyone who reads Mr. Bellairs' Johnny Dixon books will soon be heading to the kitchen or the nearest bakery for some chocolate cake with thick fudgy icing.

Professor Childermass was also something of a chain smoker, especially in the earlier books in the series. As the series progresses, the Professor works hard to break the habit. What was the Professor's cigarette of choice? The tiny, black papered Balkan Sobranie Turkish Cigarette. This also appears to be the preferred cigarette of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. A fun collectible to display near your book collection is the illustrated vintage tin box that once housed the tiny cigarettes. These tins can be found in antiques shops and in on-line auctions.



Friday, May 17, 2019

Goreyosity Shop Auction




"What are you going to do with all your stuff when you die?"

When you reach a certain age, or have accumulated a certain amount of possessions, this question will come up in conversation with increasing frequency. Often, as people "downsize" their living space they will disperse the bulk of their belongings before they pass. Many people leave behind the accumulated detritus of a lifetime that family and friends must deal with.

When Edward Gorey passed in 2000, he left behind a house and barn full to the rafters with objects collected over a lifetime of shopping, tag sales, and literally picking things up and bringing them home. Mr. Gorey had an obsession with objects. The pieces he collected and lived with inspired his works and often appeared in his drawings. After his passing, some of these possessions were bequeathed to family, friends, and institutions, but there was still a house and barn full of things that had to be dealt with.

When Edward Gorey's home was turned into a permanent museum celebrating his life and works, the barn became the repository of objects that needed to be cleared and sorted as the rooms of his home were turned into exhibition spaces. Many of the pieces he collected are on display in the museum, but there was still a large stash of pieces brought home by Mr. Gorey that were languishing in storage. Time to bring in the artists!

26 artists were each given a box and escorted into the barn to pick and choose objects that they would then take back to their respective studios and transform into works of art that will be exhibited at the Cape Cod Cultural Center, and then sold to benefit The Edward Gorey House.

To learn more about the event, go HERE. To read an article about the upcoming exhibition and sale, go HERE.

The piece shown at the top of the post is titled "Dancing in the Dark" by artist Ric Haynes.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Edward Gorey's Adornments


Edward Gorey had a flamboyant personal style. From this college days, when he painted his toenails and sauntered around in open toed sandals, to his working days in New York when he draped his 6' 3" figure in full length fur coats, Mr. Gorey always stood out in a crowd.

One of the most pervasive personal adornments Edward Gorey enjoyed throughout his life was jewelry.  His earrings, necklaces, and rings were wonderfully excessive. Perhaps Mr. Gorey took inspiration from the murder mysteries he loved to read, where characters would come to breakfast adorned in every piece of jewelry they brought with them for a weekend house party when the threat of robbery was afoot. Whatever the inspiration, Mr. Gorey loved his baubles. An article published in The Daily Beast (go HERE) discusses Edward Gorey's love of all kinds of jewelry.
A few years back, The Edward Gorey House would hold a yearly auction, featuring personal items decorative objects, artwork, and jewelry collected by Mr. Gorey. From one of these auctions I was able to acquire one of Edward Gorey's rings. Mr. Gorey evidently enjoyed wearing this ring, and I have been able to spot it on his hands in a number of photos. Fortunately, Edward Gorey had large hands, as do I, so I am able to wear this piece on special occasions.

(Photo of Edward Gorey from the Edward Gorey Documentary Project for more information on the upcoming documentary, go to: https://www.edwardgoreyfilm.com )