Bonhams Entertainment Auction To Feature Original Production Artwork

. December 7, 2011 . 0 Comments

Bonhams announce the December 14 auction of Entertainment Memorabilia in Los Angeles. The sale celebrates the role of the visual arts in the making of film, and includes two rare and important collections of original production art from the 1950s-1970s, in addition to several works of art by Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn and Disney artists Eyvind Earle and Campbell Grant.

Lot No: 4053 Marilyn Monore 3-D negatives, 1952, sold with photographer’s copyright

A highlight of the sale is a group of storyboard and design sketches by John L. Jensen who worked for director Cecil B. DeMille for decades. This material offered by Bonhams provides a glimpse into their close working relationship. In addition to vibrant drawings and paintings of major characters from such movies as “The Ten Commandments,” 1956 (estimates range from $800-35,000) and “The Alamo,” 1960 (estimates range from $800-1,800), Jensen also produced important concept designs, such as his eerie depiction of the plague of frogs descending upon the land and Cleopatra being presented as a slave to Marc Antony from “Antony and Cleopatra,” 1972 (estimates range from $500-1,200).

Another significant collection of production art hails from the Disney Studios of the 1960s and 1970s, and features rare “Mary Poppins” (1964) production artwork by famed designer Peter Ellenshaw, including two views of the Bank’s house at 17 Cherry Tree Lane (estimates range from $2,000-7,000). Present also is original artwork from fellow production designer Jim Schaeffing, including concept paintings of Mary Poppins and Burt riding off on carousel horses from the “Jolly Holliday” animation sequence and Uncle Albert’s floating tea party (estimates range from $1,500-9,000).

Other highlights include a Dr. Seuss drawing of the “Cat in the Hat” blowing a large horn with the inscription: “In case you didn’t know it, that was some parade,” a reference to composer Meredith Willson’s appearance leading a band of 1076 players during the grand opening of Disney World, from the Estate of Meredith and Rosemary Willson (est. $1,000-1,500); a surreal depiction of the Palm Springs desert, by Frank Sinatra, 1980s (est. $4,000-6,000); a mountainous landscape painting by Sinatra, 1970s-80s (est. $4,000-6,000); a large, colorful abstract by Sinatra, 1990s (est. $5,000-7,000) and a watercolor seascape of a Stratford, CT by Katharine Hepburn, mid-20th century (est. $2,000-3,000).

Within the animation section of the auction is a preliminary watercolor drawing from “Fantasia” (1940) from the Estate of Campbell Grant (est. $1,500-2,000) and two concept drawings from the 1959 classic children’s film “Sleeping Beauty” by Disney artist Eyvind Earle. The Disney Studio hired Earle in 1951. Within two years, he became the color stylist and inspirational artist for Sleeping Beauty. His artistic style, derived from medieval tapestries based on paintings by Durer and Breughal, had a large impact on the look of the characters and backgrounds. The watercolor on board pieces featured in the winter auction depict the evil Maleficent as a dragon behind the castle walls (est. $7,000-9,000) and standing on the balcony beneath an arch of the castle with the sun setting in the background (est. $7,000-9,000).

Highlights connected to Marilyn Monroe include a collection of 10 color three-dimensional negatives of the star, taken by Lani Carlson in 1952 at a party hosted by bandleader Ray Anthony, celebrating the release of the song “Marilyn,” written by Ervin Drake and Jimmy Shirl (est. $70,000-90,000). Rare to auction, the negatives will be offered with the photographer’s copyright. (Please see separate press release.)

Additional pieces of note include the Scarecrow’s sleeves, Tin Man’s gloves and lithographs of costume designs from “The Wiz” (1978) starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross (est. $3,000-4,000); an Oscar the Grouch display piece ” (est. $4,000 – 6,000) three prop guns used onscreen in “Men in Black,” 1997 (est. $1,500-2,000) and a promotional poster displayed at the 1942 premiere of “Casablanca” (est. $25,000 – 35,000), among others.

The illustrated auction catalog is online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at

Preview: December 9-11, Los Angeles

Auction: December 14, Los Angeles

Category: Auction News

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