Gil Elvgren Art Headline Heritage’s Summer Illustration Auction

Gil Elvgren’s picture-perfect pinup Bare Essentials, a 1957 Brown & Bigelow calendar painting, sold for $137,000 in its auction debut in Heritage Auctions’ $1.3 million Illustration Art event in Dallas. The July 31 auction was led by a bevy of pinup images — with Elvgren sharing just one of the auction’s five top lot honors with artist Patrick Nagel, as his 1983 painting Her Casual Pose brought $93,750.

Two more Elvgren works for Brown & Bigelow proved popular as Something New, 1957, sold for $59,375, and Fresh Breeze, 1960, sold for $53,125. His 1959 painting titled Aiming High (Will William Tell?) also fetched $53,125.

An interior illustration titled The Family Doctor, painted by Norman Rockwell for a 1947 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, sold for $40,625. Another Post work, Douglass Crockwell’s cover painting for the Aug. 10, 1940 edition titled Up at Bat sold for $40,625 in its auction debut.

Ten bidders pushed Stanley Meltzoff’s 1954 cover paining for the paperback edition of I Am Legend to $37,500, seven times its pre-auction estimate. Rolf Armstrong’s much published Hello Everybody!, sold for $30,000. The Brown & Bigelow calendar illustration was also used on a 1929 cover of College Humor magazine as well as numerous advertisements and premiums during the 1930s.

Edmund Emshwiller’s paperback cover painting for famed author Philip K. Dick’s novel The Simulacra brought $15,625 to lead a strong selection of science fiction-themed paintings. Norm Saunders’ gruesome Dream-Doll of Nightmare City, the cover image for All-Story Detective, December, 1949, fetched 13,750 and Harold W. McCauley’s cover painting of a floating robot threatening a damsel in distress, originally produced for the pulp Fantastic Adventures, sold for $13,750.

Frank R. Paul’s Amazing Stories pulp back cover painting titled Life on Europa (Moon of Jupiter) sold for $13,125 and Hans Waldemar Wesso’s pulp cover painting titled Galactic Patrol, crossed the block for $12,500.

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