Monday, April 30, 2012

To Walt Disney's London Via Ronald Searle's

It has long been known that Walt Disney's "101 Dalmations" (1961) owes much of its English look and feel to the style of illustrator Ronald Searle. What wasn't clear until this binder was offered on eBay was how the Walt Disney Studio Library was set up to assist the animators in studying Searle's drawings of London. Individual images from Searle's Looking at London (1953) could be signed out by studio artists, usually Milt Kahl but occasionally first by Ken Anderson. They then studied these drawings and created their own Searle-inspired version of London for the animated film.

eBay item description

Note:  My most recent blog post on Ronald Searle was published on Earth Day and can be read here.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chagall Pour Ingrid et Alfred Amicalement

Marc Chagall made a beautiful drawing on the title page of a book about his ceramics and sculptures, an aspect of his work with which I am not familiar. The ink drawing is enhanced significantly with color and is inscribed to Ingrid and Alfred Neuman.

The website of the Leo Baeck College gives the history of the piece, which is only one from a collection of 48 books:
Chagall Collection
When living in Saint Paul de Vence (France) Chagall wrote and illustrated dedications to Irmgard Neuman in the front of 48 books containing his works. He allowed her husband Alfred to make a unique series of photographs in his studio. The two remarkable collections have been donated by Alfred and Irmgard Neuman to Leo Baeck College.‘One day, Irmgard bought a book on Chagall’s work, and asked him to sign it. Instead, he put a charming drawing into it: this started the collection. "To Ingrid and Alfred" it said above his signature. It was, of course, "To Ingrid", but his sense of propriety forbade him to say so to another man’s wife;…It was out of friendship for Ingrid that grew the collection. He took a personal interest in it, and was delighted to see it grow. "You know" he would say, "this collection is unique."’(Alfred Neuman, The Record of a Friendship. London: Leo Baeck college / The Manor House society, 1996, pp12f.)

Marc Chagall, La Joie du Berger pour Ingrid et Alfred amicalement, 1972

Marc Chagall, La Joie du Berger pour Ingrid et Alfred amicalement, 1972

Note:  Another drawing in a Marc Chagall book dedicated to the same couple can be found in my earlier post here.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Scream, You Scream: Edvard Munch's The Scream

Edvard Munch created four versions of The Scream, his potent, angst-ridden image. Three are in Oslo museums but one, a pastel dating from 1895, has remained in private hands. In May, it will be sold at Sotheby's in New York. Sotheby's estimate is available on request, but The New York Times reported in February that this could sell for in excess of $80 million. Iconic works like this from major artists don't come up for sale that often, and they don't come cheap.

I'm surprised to see the early date on this work, as The Scream strikes me as a quintessential 20th century image. Yet Munch created this two decades before the horrors of the first World War. The horror, it seems, was personal, and not yet universal. In that sense it reminds me of Thomas Hardy's turn-of-the-century poem "The Darkling Thrush," presciently anticipating the bleak world to come.

The present work is a pastel on board dating from 1895:
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893
Munch-Museet, Oslo

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893
National Gallery, Oslo

Edvard Munch, The Scream, c. 1910
Munch-Museet, Oslo
The Sotheby's online catalogue listing:
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895

         May 2, 2012:  Sold for $119,922,500, a world record for a work of art at auction

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[End of Sotheby's catalogue listing]

Here is an 1895 lithograph from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This print is not part of the Sotheby's listing:
The Scream, 1895
Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944)
image: 14 1/16 x 9 5/16 in. (35.7 x 23.6 cm); sheet: 20 1/4 x 15 5/8 in. (51.4 x 39.7 cm)
Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.1203.1)
NOT ON VIEW   Last Updated April 13, 2012

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895, detail

Edvard Munch's The Scream 

goes on display in London

'The Scream' Auctioned 

for $119.9M in NYC

Note:  You can see another of Andy Warhol's versions of The Scream here. I think Warhol remains true to its spirit, even without having experienced the same degree of torment and isolation.

You might also like my post on Munch's Madonna here.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Some Like it Hot Film Poster

What's in a title? Writers Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond were not native speakers of English, yet they understood the nuances of the language so well that they could deftly produce brilliant screenplays. I doubt that either of them could have heard the nursery rhyme "Pease Porridge Hot" while growing up, yet the title of "Some Like it Hot," one of the funniest movies ever, is certainly derived from this. In the dialogue from the movie, though, the title phrase specifically refers to a musical preference for syncopated jazz. Or does it?

The vintage 1959 film poster from Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot" tells a different story about the title's meaning, one that has nothing to do with peas porridge or syncopated rhythms. Mother Goose would be proud.

Some Like It Hot 
1959, United Artists, U.S. one-sheet -- 41 x 27 in. (104 x 69 cm.), linen-backed, (A-)

Price Realized May 2, 2012

  • ($2,229)
  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.


    £700 - £900
  • ($1,114 - $1,432)

  • Sale Information
Sale 6887 Lot 569
Christie's Interiors including Vintage Film Posters 
2 May 2012
London, South Kensington 

Marilyn Monroe - Shell Oil


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spotty the Turtle

The following item is from a small sale of original children's book artwork which opened at Illustration House in February of 2010. The auction house updates its website only sporadically, so it is difficult to know how many of these were sold, or even whether the sale has actually ended. Book illustrations done in watercolor by Harrison Cady are rare, and this one is quite attractive.

Harrison Cady, "Hi, Spotty!" he shouted. "Where do you live?"
Harrison Cady