Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

The Martignette Collection of Illustration Art for Auction

The Charles Martignette Collection of Illustration Art will make its public debut on Wednesday, July 15, as the focus of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Signature® Illustration Art Auction; it’s safe to say that the world of illustration art collecting – and Fine Art collecting – will be forever changed once the rare and important pieces in this 4300 lot collection make their way into the open market.

“It’s not a stretch to say that Martignette is, perhaps, the most impressive group of Illustration Art ever offered,” said Ed Jaster, Director of Comic and Illustration Art at Heritage. “A significant portion of this collection is absolute museum quality masterpieces from the greatest artists ever to work in the field.”

More than 30 selections from The Martignette Collection will also provide an anchor to Heritage’s Signature® July Auction of Art of The American West and Texas the following day, Thursday, July 16. Important canvasses from W.H. “Buck” Dunton – Badger Hole (The Spill) – will appear alongside classic Western examples like Harvey T. Dunn’s The Plowman and J.C. Leyendecker’s Two O’Clock.

If Charles Martignette himself was a controversial figure – outspoken, hard-living and obsessive in his singular pursuit of the art he so coveted – there is no controversy surrounding what is now his amazing legacy. What started with pin-up and glamour art of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s rapidly expanded into an exquisite, all-embracing consideration of the history of illustration art in the United States.

“The auctioning of Martignette’s amazing collection won’t just help create a new playing field,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director and Illustration Art expert at Heritage, “it’s more akin to building an entirely new stadium. It’s not that so many of these paintings are hard to come by; it’s that, until now, they were literally impossible to come by. Most of these paintings have literally never seen the open market. Collectors simply could not get their hands on them. Now the door is about to be thrown wide open.

It’s a good bet that the market is going to respond with enthusiasm. The collection starts with Howard Pyle, the Dean of American Illustrators, and follows his Brandywine School and its many luminaries – Howard Dunn, Frank Schoonover, Maxfield Parrish – through the Golden Age of Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell and J.C. Leyendecker, and travels through to mid-20th Century masters like Gil Elvgren, George Petty, Alberto Vargas and Mel Ramos, among the many. Sandwiched in-between all these are some of the greatest names in pin-up, pulp and paperback art to ever pick up paint and brush.

“In this rare instance it’s not a cliché to use the words ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,'” said Jaster. “There are all price ranges in this collection and a variety never before seen. Hardcore illustration collectors are going to find themselves competing with collectors from across the spectrum, and around the globe, for many of these lots – the collection is that deep and varied.”

Heritage’s Signature® Illustration Art Auction will be held July 15, 2009, at the company’s Slocum Street Annex in the Downtown Dallas Design District.

To reserve your copy of this, or any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 150, or visit to order by email.

Consignors and sellers of Illustration Art are invited to Or simply email Todd Hignite at [email protected], or call 1-800-872-6467, ext. 1790.

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Heritage Auction Galleries is the world’s third largest auction house, and by far the largest auctioneer of rare collectibles, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 450,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit