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 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.