Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcome 2018

In with the New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Farewell 2017

Out with the old year.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Goreyana!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Auction News

On Thursday December 14, Swann Gallery in New York City held its semi-annual Illustration Art Auction which once again included a nice selection of works by Edward Gorey. Six lots, comprising fifteen pieces of original artwork were offered, and all sold.

The first five lots showcased pen and ink drawings from The Monster Den, or, Look What Happened at My House, a book by John Ciardi that was published in 1966. The first drawing, Miss Myrna, Small Ben, and John L - Those Three, a delightful drawing of the three children in a row boat, sold for more than twice the high estimate.

After four drawings from this volume were offered individually, a final lot comprising ten drawings brought almost double its high estimate. Nine of these drawings showcased individual vignettes of the above children. The tenth drawing included in this lot was a fantastic Gorey creature.

The final piece of artwork by Edward Gorey in the sale was a pen, ink and watercolor that was published in the New York Times in December 1987 to accompany a piece entitled Avoiding Christmas written by Quentin Crisp. With his typical dry wit, Mr. Crisp, whose birthday fell on Christmas Day, disparaged the holiday. Mr. Gorey's amusing illustration shows the perils encountered when entertaining other people's children.

As with previous sales, works by Edward Gorey continue to garner strong interest among admirers and collectors.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holiday Decorating

 Christmas in the Eggplant Hills is one of Edward Gorey's more enigmatic Christmas card designs. Rabbits in plaid shirts are decorating an effigy with the help of a creature of unspecified origin. The card was a limited edition greeting for the Albondocani Press in 1989.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Vintage Gift Giving

This is a vintage ad from Time Magazine, December 1975. In this ad for Waldenbooks, the paperback edition of Amphigorey by Edward Gorey is featured front and center. The description below states that Amphigorey is, "A joy to read, a welcome gift, a much appreciated belly laugh." 42 years later, this still holds true. Find a copy and give it to a deserving friend this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Finding Gorey In Unlikely Places

Edward Gorey was an illustrator for hire whose work often turns up in unusual places. This is an ad promoting the use of insurance professionals from The American College of CLU & ChFC. The add appeared in Time Magazine in August 1987.

Often, Edward Gorey's illustrations for advertisements have little or no direct relationship to the product they promote, and require a leap of the imagination to make the connection. This disjointed ad has a layout that is visually confusing and leads one to surmise that the art director was simply a fan of Mr. Gorey's work and wanted to get him to do an illustration. The drawing itself, when freed from the constraints of encroaching type, appears to be a typical evening of two people playing cards with a cat resting at their feet. The enormous fan, along with the tag line, "Thomas trusted his mother ,but he always cut the cards" provides the humor to the scene.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fine Art Prints, Part 15

On February 5, 2011 we began a discussion on this blog of the various Fine Art Prints created by Edward Gorey. To view the other blog posts regarding these unique pieces of collectible Gorey artwork, search for Fine Art Prints in the blog's search engine.

Recently, two previously unseen etchings by Edward Gorey appeared at an on line auction (neither are in my collection). Both of these prints appear to be working proofs made by Mr. Gorey at the Cape Cod Conservatory., and neither print appears to have been put into production. Both of these prints have been dated, which was not done on any print editions.

The first etching shows a typical Edward Gorey man in a frock coat and top hat with a child in shapeless garb being confronted by what appears to be a bird. The bird's beak resembles a hooked nose and gives the foul a human expression. This print is dated 1976 in the lower left corner in pencil in Mr. Gorey's hand.

The second etching shows a Bolster leaning against a wall. This print is dated 1977 and has a note about timing written in Mr. Gorey's hand in the lower margin. The note reads, "3 min should have been", indicating that the plate was overexposed to the acid when etched, which would have resulted in the over all darkness of the image. Mr. Gorey made several more Bolster etching plates which were printed after his death. The other Bolster prints have more delicate appearance than this example, which also indicates that this plate was over etched.

Many of Edward Gorey's Fine Art Etchings are available from The Edward Gorey House HERE. Prints can also be found on the secondary market through auctions.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Doll Collector Magazine

The August/September 1990 issue of Dolls - The Collector's Magazine included an article called Give Them A Good Fright by John Darcy Noble. In this essay, the author talks about how 18th & 19th century toys and books were used as cautionary tales to the children of the time.

Mr. Noble establishes a direct influence of these tales and the popularity of works by Edward Gorey. The author also relates how he once used hand made stuffed animal toys by Mr. Gorey to decorate a Christmas tree for the Museum of the City of New York, and the now well known tale of the many stuffed creatures in Mr. Gorey's home that were disemboweled by mice.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Portrait of An Artist Taking a Walk

Portrait of Edward Gorey
by Ben Wickey
A recently commissioned pen, ink, and watercolor portrait

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ben Wickey

Ben Wickey is an immensely talented young artist, illustrator, and film maker. Mr. Wickey's wondrous animations are set to enhance the upcoming (hopefully sometime soon) documentary about Edward Gorey by Christopher Seufert.

Still at the beginning of what promises to be a long career, the singular look and dark humor of Ben Wickey's work calls to mind artists like Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, Ralph Steadman and Henry Selick.

To see works in progress and all of the Edward Gorey animations by Ben Wickey, visit his website HERE.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The House WIth A Clock In Its Walls Movie

The cast for the film adaptation of John Bellairs' The House With A Clock In Its Walls has some additional star power. Kyle MacLachlan has joined previously mentioned stars Jack Black and Kate Blanchette for the film, which begins production next month. MacLachlan will be playing the evil Isaac Izard. Owen Vaccaro has also been signed to play Lewis Barneavelte.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Forty One Barking Dogs

Edward Gorey created many spot illustrations for TV Guide magazine. The wide ranging themes of these assignments challenged the versatility of Mr. Gorey's imagination and talent. Sports, Westerns, and the current (and upcoming) season's programming were all subjects which are not standard themes in Mr. Gorey's work, but which he illustrated with knowledge and humor.
The September 1982 of TV Guide features a spot illustration by Edward Gorey for an article about the filler programming needed in newly formed subscription channels like HBO and The Movie Channel (TCM).  And now, for your intermission pleasure...41 barking dogs! is an article that relates how an "anything goes" style of entertainment in short films is being embraced as filler between shows. In an effort to fill short amounts of time, subjects from quirky to the banal (or "stinkers" as the article states) are all welcomed. The film mentioned in the title is an animated short with 41 dogs barking.
Edward Gorey's artwork for TV Guide is almost always in color, and has a bold quality that is not generally associated with the style of his work. This boldness is a purposeful and direct result of the physical attributes of the magazine itself. Not much larger than a paperback book and cheaply printed, TV Guide was a weekly publication whose articles were short and by necessity, any illustration or photograph was reproduced at a very small size. Edward Gorey was usually adamant that he create original artwork at the size it was to be reproduced, but the pieces made for TV Guide are always drawn large with the intention that they will be greatly reduced and poorly printed. For 41 Dogs, the artwork is 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" and was reproduced at 2 1/2" x 3" (this size is noted in pencil on the artwork). Working at a larger size, Mr. Gorey was free to create poster style images that grab the fleeting attention of the reader.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New York City Ballet Buttons

 Edward Gorey created many designs for the New York City Ballet to be used on merchandise and for fundraising. I have identified seven designs for pinback buttons, each featuring a ballerina in various costumes. the first button shows the ballerina in warm up or rehearsal clothing. The others are dancing in full costume. Two buttons feature color in their costumes.

According to Gorey bibliographer Edward Bradford, the following button was also available with a chain so it could be worn as a pendant necklace.

 The next two buttons are internet images and are not in my collection.

A final button shows an energetic Gorey Cat in toe shoes against a vivid yellow background dancing the Kitty Ballet. Edward Gorey created several images for the Kitty Ballet.
The Kitty Ballet also had a second button design where the kitty has a "come hither" attitude and pink toe shoes. The button pictured is not in my collection.
One final design is not specifically identified as a New York City Ballet button within the image, but appears to be part of the series. It features a bat and a ballerina. This is an internet image and the button is not in my collection.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Edward Gorey House Envelope Contest

The Edward Gorey house is now accepting entries for its annual Halloween Envelope Art Contest. Now in its 4th year, the contest is open to artists and enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Contest rules, the entry form (which must accompany the submission), and images of past winners can be found here: Envelope Contest

The deadline for entries to be received by mail is Friday October 27, 2017.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Glen Baxter

Glen Baxter is an artist who was born in Leeds, UK in 1944. Mr. Baxter primarily creates single panel absurdist cartoon panels that are available as collected works in many books. Original artwork is available from several Fine Art Galleries in the United States, England, and France. Mr. Baxter's work often features literary, domestic, and artistic themes combined in unlikely ways with typical British characters. Another favorite theme is the American West, where cowboys interact in unexpected ways with literature and modern art.

Unlike Edward Gorey who created artwork at the size it was intended to be published, Mr. Baxter's prefers to work in a Fine Art sensibility and his pieces range in size from 10" x 15" to massive 41" x 60" pieces. He works in pen & ink and also creates color pieces in pastel and crayon which give them a distinctive look. A number of images have been available as signed, limited edition prints.

Mr. Baxter's first solo art exhibition was held at the Gotham Book Mart in 1974. Edward Gorey attended the opening and was the first person to purchase Mr. Baxter's original artwork. Mr. Gorey acquired several originals at the GBM show and these remained in his personal art collection for the rest of his life. I have seen a lovely photograph of the two artists enjoying drinks and a laugh together at the opening.

At the time of the exhibition in 1974, Gotham Book Mart published Mr. Baxter's Fruits of the World in Danger. Fruits of the World was printed in a unnumbered limited edition of 300 staple bound copies in wrappers. The slim volume shows various fruits in situations that can only lead to disaster. It has been suggested that Fruits of the World inspired Edward Gorey's Menaced Objects, Dogear Wryde Postcards which was published in 1989.

Glen Baxter has published more than 20 books, and many are in print. The most recent volume is Almost Completely Baxter, New and Selected Blurtings . Published in 2016, this book includes black & white and color works.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Martin Landau

Actor Martin Landau died this past weekend at age 89. Mr. Landau played many roles over his long career including the title character in the 1985/85 national tour of the stage revival of Dracula. The tour featured the sets and costumes by Edward Gorey, and I was pleased to attend both performances of the play when it stopped at the Ordway Theater, St. Paul, MN in February 1985. Ten years later, Mr. Landau would once again inhabit the signature cape, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Wood. An article about the casting of Landau in the 1984 theatrical revival can be read HERE.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Gorey Stories Caricature

Over the years Edward Gorey adapted his books into "an entertainment with music" several times with mixed success. Gorey Stories was the short lived Broadway production which opened and closed on October 30, 1978. The show was later retooled as Tinned Lettuce (NYU student production 1983), Amphigorey (Off Broadway 1994), and The Gorey Details (Off Broadway 2000).

Some of the original artwork used for set and program designs from the later production has appeared at auction in recent years. Mr. Gorey's original artwork for the Playbill cover for Gorey Stories was sold at Swann Auction Galleries in January 2016. An interesting piece of original artwork by caricaturist Sam Norkin related to Gorey Stories recently surfaced.
Mr. Norkin (1917 - 2011) was a New York born cartoonist who spent his long career producing caricatures for newspaper theatrical reviews. Known as "The Other Hirshfeld", Mr. Norkin's drawings graced the pages of the New York Herald Tribune from 1940 - 1956, after which he worked primarily for the New York Daily News. Mr. Norkin also wrote for newspapers as a theatrical reviewer.

Mr. Norkin created artwork to illustrate reviews for shows playing on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for out of town try-outs. His body of work has recently been offered over the course of several auctions and the shows represent a full spectrum of New York plays and musicals. One piece that caught my eye was created for Gorey Stories. I have acquired the piece, but as yet have not been able to ascertain if it actually appeared alongside a newspaper review. Several reviews of the show did appear in various New York papers, but so far I have only seen photographic illustrations accompanying them.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The House With A Clock In Its Walls Film

John Bellairs fans will be excited to learn that The House With A Clock In Its Walls is being made into film. The book, the first of a series of supernatural tales by author John Bellairs, was published with a dust jacket and interior illustrations by Edward Gorey. The film will be directed by Eli Roth and star Jack Black. The film is expected in theaters in 2019.  An article about the film can be found HERE. (The dust jacket pictured in the article was pulled from my May 7, 2009 blog post about the book)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Auction News

Swann Auction Galleries held an auction of Art, Press, & Illustrated Books on June 13. The auction included eleven lots of limited edition books, posters, and ephemera by Edward Gorey.

Starting the Gorey section was an ultra rare Doubtful Guest Doll with its original box from 1974. This limited edition doll was one of only four lettered examples.

Also of interest was a beautifully printed Elephant In Backstroke etching, and a piece of Dracula Damask wallpaper.