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

Winnie The Pooh, Eloise & Moishe Highlight Bonhams Illustration Sale

In the first specialized sale in the US devoted to illustration, Bonhams is thrilled to have at auction several rare and new to market illustrations of beloved stories that have shaped the minds and fueled the creativity of children and adults over the past hundred and fifty years. This 261-lot two-part sale will take place June 22, 2011 in New York featuring drawings and illustrations by artists such as Ernest Howard Shepard (Winnie-the-Pooh), Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are), Hilary Knight (Eloise), Garth Williams (Charlotte’s Web), Eric Carle and many others.

Perhaps the most famous toys in all children’s literature are the stuffed animals belonging to young Christopher Robin, with one affectionately named Winnie the Pooh. Ernest Howard Shepard has had children all of the world falling in love with his wistful drawings that captured each character in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh. Over the years, Shepard drew many Winnie the Pooh pictures for a variety of reasons, but drawings from the first edition rarely come to market. The sale of these remarkable lots coincides with the new Winnie the Pooh movie which debuts July 15th. The most notable lot is Shepard’s sketch of a pensive Pooh and Piglet walking home into the sunset after Pooh’s party, just moments before they turn back into ordinary toys. This penultimate illustration beautifully concludes the first edition of the book and is estimated to sell for $100,000-200,000. Other images include a suite of four illustrations of Eeyore titled “The Tail is Lost” (est. $60,000-80,000) and an image of several characters celebrating at “Pooh’s Party” (est. $80,000-120,000).

A rarity to auction is the work of Maurice Sendak who is internationally acknowledged to be the most important force in children’s literature since WWII. Since Sendak donates all of his published work to the Rosenbach Foundation, the fourteen lots that are up for auction are rare to market. The leading highlight among the Sendak lots is his poster design promoting the 1990 International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) (est. $400,000-700,000). This poster is unquestionably the most accomplished finished watercolor and arguably the most important work of Sendak to ever come to auction. Other Sendak lots include a set of four photolithographs featuring scenes and characters from Where the Wild Things Are (est. $2,000-3,000), a sketch of Moishe, the popular character from the previously named book (est. $40,000-60,000) and a wooden shaker box hand painted by the artist for a birthday gift (est. $6,000-8,000).

Elsewhere in the sale is the unused cover design for Kay Thompson’s Eloise in Paris by Hilary Knight (est. $18,000-20,000). This illustration is one of the few full-color pieces created specifically for the Eloise books, since the interior illustrations are color separated into black, pink and white. The few pictures of Eloise that have survived have mostly been discarded sketches and not full watercolors.

New to the auction market are the works of Rosemary Wells and James Gurney. Rosemary Wells is one of the most successful American picture book artists of her generation with her highly recognizable duet of mice, Max and his sister Ruby. One of her lots is a watercolor and ink illustration for Max & Ruby’s Bedtime Book (est. $900-1,200). James Gurney’s “Festival Day” is a new to market gem (est. $12,000-15,000). This major painting is from the bestselling book Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara and is the youngest lot in the auction.

Geared more toward adults are the editorial works of R.O. Blechman and Arthur Syzk. Blechman’s “Robot (after Rodin)” is an amusing 1991 cover design for The New Yorker which comments on the modern mechanization of Man (est. $5,000-8,000). Arthur Syzk is most celebrated for his anti-Axis caricatures during WWII. With his drawings he helped sway American public opinion in favor of the war against Hitler. For auction are four illustrations for an unpublished edition of Sir Walter Scott’s The Talisman (est. $5,000-7,000).

Other notable lots are Garth Williams’ unused painting for the dust jacket for Charlotte’s Web (est. $60,000-80,000), an Esphyr Slobodkina’s illustration for Caps for Sale (est. $20,000-22,000), Charles Schultz four-panel daily strips featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy (est. $8,000-12,000 each), and a Walt Disney charcoal concept drawing for the animated feature “Pinocchio” (est. $8,000-12,000).

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