I love seeing the hi-res images go up on auction sites! Heritage Auctions takes some great captures of the artwork they auction and they also have a lot of treasures. I always have my eye on a few, hoping to get a steal.
They have had a few recent Illustration Art auctions (and have another coming up in October) and regularly carry work by illustration heavyweights like Rockwell, Corwell, Rackham and Elvgren. I downloaded some of the images and want to share some highlights.
Let’s start with this Franklin Booth pencil drawing! It went for $1,875… a bargain!
A cool Jim Burns painting that I had not seen before.
How cool is this design? I love the palette and the stylization!
This painting by Robert Peak for Apocolypse Now posters is just iconic.
I keep coming back to this gorgeous ink drawing! It is by Nell Brinkley and I need to go find more of their work!
This painting is just fantastic. So much to love about this! James Avati. I wasn’t familiar with Avati before, but this image sent me on a Google Images rabbit hole looking for more.
Here are some more great images from the auction.
I was surprised when I saw this painting below to see that it was painted by John Berkey. It has his motion and brushstrokes are there, but it is missing a giant spaceship and it has people in it! Cool to see such a different piece from Berkey’s body of work.
This toned paper watercolor and gouache by Harrison Fisher is so well done!
Heritage Auction has probably seen the large majority of Gil Elvgren’s work pass through its doors. Elvgren’s painting skills are great, but his charcoal drawings are what I think are coolest. Heritage carries the finals and studies and sometimes also the photograph that was used as a reference. That is always interesting to see how the photo was interpreted and simplified.
Here are some others from the same auction:
This last drawing is so good. The image was most likely an inside magazine, two-page image and there would be text over the right side and title treatment. Elvgren dealt with that masterfully. All the action and characters are contained in the left-hand third of the painting, but it is balanced out with the long lines and vertical repetition of the piano and the big empty space on the right third of the design. And look how beautifully drawn the woman’s hair is, and the hand.
I think that had Elvgren gone a slightly different path and instead of painting for pulp and pinup, and had done more formal portraiture, his name would be mentioned alongside Sargent, Zorn, and Sorolla (and maybe should be still). At least in his drawings, I think Elvgren approached the efficiency and skill of Sargent. His paintings, while amazing, don’t have as rich of a surface as Sargent, Zorn or Sorolla and I think that is because he painted for print and probably speed.
I hope you enjoyed those images! Go and check out Heritage Auctions and you might even find a treasure at a steal price.
Howard . . . a great selection. I really enjoy the ones that have that “block-in” look. Please keep ’em coming.
Nice post, Howard. I’ve always admired Gil Elvgren’s work even though it was mostly pinup. His drawing is amazing. I’m glad you mentioned him as ranking in higher company. Thanks for shining a light on his art because he gets written off so often because of his pinup connections.