Monday, March 2, 2015

Original Edward Gorey Artwork For Sale

As Spring slowly approaches, I felt it was time to do a little Gorey Collection Spring Cleaning. With this in mind, I have several pieces of original Edward Gorey artwork available for purchase.

If you would like to receive a PDF of the pieces available, send me an email at and I will forward the information to you.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Edward Gorey!

Happy 90th Birthday Edward Gorey!

Raise a cup of QRV
Snuggle in with your favorite Gorey volume
Celebrate and Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Edward Gorey Stained Glass Original Artwork

As a youth, Edward Gorey attended the Francis Parker School in Chicago. In 1940, when he was in the 11th grade, Gorey created a stained glass window design for the annual Christmas concert. The "window" was constructed as a backdrop for the school chorus and can be seen in the background of yearbook photos from the concert.
The original cartoon for the window (stained glass window designs are called cartoons) recently surfaced, and is now in my collection. The design is rendered in pencil and crayon, and depicts three monks raising their tankards which are being filled by a winged cherub holding grapes turning into wine. The flying figure is also holding a curling banner with an inscription. The words are penciled on the left side of the drawing and seem to be "cum beatitudinibus Bacchi" or approximately "with blessed and blissful drunken revelers".

The shape of the original cartoon was an elaborate rounded arch, but this was changed to a simpler Gothic arch for the final piece. The change in shape is indicated in pencil on the drawing. The piecework on the original cartoon is also quite complicated. When the set piece was built, much of the line work was simplified, and the cherub's positioning was changed. He no longer holds the banner which floats above the heads of the monks, and it appears that his wing now covers his bare bottom!

The completed "window" gave the stage a "church" backdrop for the choir, as can be seen in the black and white yearbook photos, however the subject matter of the design is an interesting choice.
In the original cartoon, Gorey added details which gave each monk personality and showed them enjoying their alcoholic beverages. Their smiling faces and red noses indicate that a good time is being had by all! These details are difficult to see clearly in the yearbook photos of the choir with the finished piece, but they appear to be less prominent.
To enlarge the design, Edward Gorey began by drawing a grid and numbering each square. This is a basic method that art students are taught for drawing an image to scale. When a larger grid is created, the image within each square is enlarged to the size of the new square. This allows the artist to easily recreate the image at the larger size without distortion.

It's difficult to say whether the finished window may have been backlit. The yearbook does refer to the room being darkened as the Special Chorus entered to take their place onstage with the regular chorus, in front of "a beautiful stained glass window". While the window design looks like a stained glass window, further changes would be needed to be able to truly render this design in glass. There are several pieces with severe in-cuts that would not be possible if the design were to be actually created in glass.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Art of Murder

On a recent visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I came across a two room exhibition of prints entitled The Art of Murder. A warning outside the gallery states that the exhibit might not be suitable for young children.

Included in the exhibit are a series of prints, many of great antiquity, each of which depicts the act of murder. Along with the usual representations of religious crucifixions are several pieces that reminded me strongly of the works of Edward Gorey.
On display are a number of prints showing Judith beheading Holofernes. It struck me that the gallery's child warning was amusing given that Mr. Gorey included a painting of Judith in his art gallery image for a Town & Country Magazine article entitled, "Art is Fun".

Also on display at the MIA is an 1848 glyphograph by George Cruikshank titled, "The Maniac Father and the Convict Brother are Gone - The Poor Girl, Homeless, Friendless, Deserted, Destitute, and Gin Mad, Commits Self Murder" (see image at the top of the post). Of course, the title alone could easily be the plot line of one of Mr. Gorey's books.

This image reminded me of several illustrations by Edward Gorey - the first from The Object Lesson, and the second from The Fatal Lozenge. Both of these illustrations bear a striking resemblance to the Cruikshank image.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Edward Gorey in High School

Edward Gorey attended the Francis Parker School in Chicago Illinois beginning in 1938 and graduating in 1942.  While there are not a lot of specifics known about Gorey's early academic years, collector Tom Michalak has put together an interesting outline of Mr. Gorey's life from early childhood through the early 1960's on the Loyola University Chicago Digital Special Collections Page which can be viewed HERE. This biographical outline includes many interesting facts and images, including Gorey's High School Diploma shown above.

I was recently sent some xeroxes of The Parker School's 1941 yearbook which includes the class picture for The Eleventh Grade. Edward Gorey is seated in the front row wearing a light colored shirt, the third person in from the right. This yearbook picture does not appear on the Loyola site.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Auction News

After a lengthy dry spell with virtually no new original artwork by Edward Gorey being offered for sale, it has been a busy month at auction. Four pieces of original artwork, all of them dust wrapper designs, have been sold in the past couple weeks.
Earlier this month, the watercolor painting for Masterpieces of Mystery and Suspense from 1988 appeared on eBay and was sold. The cover vignette of the man entering Hell is a particularly nice detail of this artwork. The art for the hand lettered typography was not included with the painting.

Swann Auction Galleries January 22 Illustration Art sale had two finished book cover designs and one rough sketch for a book cover (see my post from December 30, 2014). All three pieces sold, with the Haunted America cover exceeding its pre-sale estimate. Swann now posts their auction items on eBay, but it should be noted that the final prices listed on eBay do not include the additional 25% buyers premiums. To see the final sale prices, visit

Monday, January 19, 2015

Blithering Christmas Stuffed Frog

For many years, I had heard that Edward Gorey created a small number of Stuffed Frogs in a Christmas fabric which were sold at his 1992 production of Blithering Christmas, but I had never seen one. Recently, the frog pictured appeared on an on-line auction (this frog is not in my collection). Mr. Gorey often sold Figbash dolls at his theatrical productions to benefit the theater, but the Christmas fabric frog was only ever available at Blithering Christmas. Mr. Gorey did sew a few frogs in non-holiday fabrics which he gave to friends.

One of the interesting things about this frog is the tag that is tied to one of its legs, stating that it was created by hand by Mr. Gorey in 1992. The earliest Figbash dolls sold at the theatrical productions did not have tags. It was not until Gotham Book Mart began selling the Figbash dolls that Edward Gorey made tags for them, at the request of GBM.