Sunday, January 31, 2016
2016 Illustration Art Auction at Swann Auction Galleries in New York City was held on Thursday January 28th. This now annual event has become a source for original artwork by Edward Gorey, and this year's selection was diverse and enchanting. While there were no color pieces included in this year's auction, the quality of the artwork being sold was exceptional.
The auction included an amazing eleven pieces of original art by Edward Gorey, the most artwork by this renowned artist to be offered at one time since the seminal 2001 Bromer Booksellers Catalog which featured eighteen pieces of original art from the personal collection of Anne Bromer.
As predicted, the star of the proceedings was Haunted New Orleans, an exceptionally large, beautifully executed graveyard scene from 1961. The 11.5" x 15" piece sold well above the presale estimate of $5,000 - $7,000.00 with a final price of $10,625.00 (including the 25% buyers premium).
Each decade of Mr. Gorey's professional career was represented in the auction. Two previously unseen book cover designs from the 1950's included a finished sketch for an Anchor book on author Henry James which sold for $3500.00, and a truly fabulous dust jacket design for Dead By Now. This highly detailed piece more than doubled it estimate with a final price of $9375.00.
The three pieces representing the 1960's all met or exceeded their presale estimates. In addition to the previously mentioned Haunted New Orleans, Sunflower Planting (also from Holiday Magazine in 1961) sold for $7500.00, more than doubling its estimate. From 1968, The Ghostly Rental, a highly detailed piece showing three illustrations on one page, overshot its estimate with a final price of $5750.00.
Three pieces from the late 1970's all sold respectably within their estimates, while I Love Cats from the 1980's almost doubled its estimate, selling for $4500.00.
Two rare National Post Card Week images finished off the Edward Gorey portion of the sale. A very unusual elephant from 1986 sold for $4250.00. The final piece was a densely rendered image of a family from 1991 which sold for $3750.00.
Monday, January 18, 2016
One such home was featured in the December 29, 2015 issue of Philadelphia Magazine. The new owners of a three story Victorian era rowhouse in the Fairmount neighborhood enjoy every formal meal with the family from Edward Gorey's The Doubtful Guest. You can view other photos of the renovated home HERE.
My own dining room also has Gorey images on the walls as part of a larger collection of images from classic children's stories that Bill and I enjoy. After painting our walls a rather uncompromising shade of mustard yellow, Bill go to work adding images around the room. Benevolently residing over the arch on one side of the room is a classic Gorey cat.
On the opposite end of the room, Little Zooks is perpetually being used as a projectile over a window.
Another way to decorate with Edward Gorey would be to find a room that used the Dracula Damask wall paper which was produced by Kirk-Brummell in the late 70's/early 80's. While pieces of the wall paper are in collections (like the one shown from my collection), I have yet to discover a room that was papered in this distinctive covering.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. This year, there are eleven original pieces of art by Edward Gorey being offered at the January 28th sale.
Selections being offered range from an early Anchor paperback cover to pieces from the 1980's and '90's. The star of the proceedings is undoubtedly Haunted New Orleans, a spooky full page illustration published in the June 1961 edition of Holiday Magazine.
To view the pieces being offered, go HERE.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
National Post Card Week cards that I have been missing. Published and distributed annually by Gotham Book Mart, this is a delightful series of 13 cards, each with a different image created by Mr. Gorey.
This card, the fourth in the series, depicts a couple reaching the summit of a mountain on which is balanced an elusive post card. The man is creeping closer to the card while woman has already begun her elevenses. A blimp can be seen in the background trailing an informational banner.
To see more of the cards from this series, view my blog entry from May 4, 2012.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Edward Gorey created A Heart-Warming Christmas for the December 1971 issue of National Lampoon Magazine. It can be truly said that the holiday pictured is anything but "heart-warming". The scene depicted is straight out of a Victorian melodrama, complete with dying child, drunken father, and the misguided benefactor bearing gifts that would, for the most part, be unwanted and not very helpful to the distressed family.
The illustration has numbers which correspond to the descriptions below the drawing, condensing into the single image a complete 22 page book's worth of information.
The key reads as follows:
1. drunken father 2. empty gin bottle 3.rabid rat 4. beaten mother 5. unpawnable object 6. remains of her wedding dress 7. frozen robin 8.motto worked in human hair 9. dying child 10. caseless pillow 11. World Without End quilt 12. Christmas tree 13. string, bones, and ticket stubs from the gutter 14. Sir Giles Crockby, the Pilchard King 15. Russian sable pelisse 16. bespoke spats 17. his Thibetan chauffeur 18. basket of glazed tropical fruits 19. the works of Goethe bound in blue Levant morocco 20. Terrine of pate de foie gras with truffles 21. antique automaton that sings 'Dal dolor cotanto oppresso' from La Clemenza di Scipione 22. box of absinthe-filled chocolates