Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blechman's 'Bot

R. O. Blechman, Original cover art, The New Yorker, October 7, 1991
Lot No: 113 R.O. Blechman (American, born 1930)
"Robot (after Rodin)," cover design for The New Yorker, 1991.
Watercolor and ink.
29 x 21cm (11 7/16 x 8 1/4in).
Estimate: US$5,000 - 8,000.  Unsold. View Condition Report 
Footnote:An amusing commentary on the modern mechanization of Man as a wry parody of Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker. Reproduced in Steven Heller, R. O. Blechman, Paris: Delpire, 2004, p 91.

R. O. Blechman, The New Yorker, October 7, 1991

Auguste Rodin, The Thinker

Bonhams's June 22 auction of illustration art included this sole example of original New Yorker cover art by R. O. Blechman. The sale contained a number of pieces that were dedicated to Mr. Blechman and some that were drawn by him, so it seems likely that the artist himself consigned this premium lot. To my eye, this artwork is very desirable, but, as with many of the lots in this sale, the estimate was on the high side. I have no idea where the reserve was set, although I suspect it was fairly high too, and this beautiful and collectible painting  failed to find a buyer. I think the art market was somewhat weak on June 22, the stock market having taken a drubbing since May, whereas the estimates seemed to anticipate a more robust economic atmosphere. Still, I think there's a good chance we may see some of the unsold lots offered again....

The photo:

April 16, 2014 Update:  This illustration has indeed turned up once again at auction in January. This time it found a buyer at $3,000 including the buyer's premium, a much more reasonable price.
R. O. Blechman, Original cover art, The New Yorker, October 7, 1991


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