Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eichmann in the Dock

Ronald Searle made these sketches of Adolf Eichmann on trial in April of 1961 in the Court Room in Jerusalem. These sketches were made on the printed cover of the indictment. Searle was covering the trial for Life magazine.

Sale B290212 Lot 246
Ronald SEARLE (1920-2011)
Adolf Eichmann on trial 
pen and ink on paper cover of 'The Indictment' printed for the Government Press Office, Jerusalem 
signed and inscribed 'The Court Room, Jerusalem, April 1961' 
26.5 x 20.5cm (visible) 

Provenance: Magdalene Street Gallery, Cambridge, with label verso 

Other Notes: After the Second World War, Eichmann changed his name and eventually made his way to Argentina. His whereabouts were later discovered by the Israeli authorites who captured him in 1960, and took him to Israel where he was put on trial in 1961, and found guilty of war crimes, chiefly his large involvement in the Holocaust, was hanged in 1962 and his ashes scattered at sea. Searle was covering the trial for Life magazine. 
Estimate £3,000-4,000

Sold for 2,800 GBP on February 29, 2012.

May 12, 2012 Update:  This sketch is currently offered for sale by London art dealer Chris Beetles in his exhibition Ronald Searle Remembered, May 22 - June 9, 2012 for 6,500 GBP. The auction house Cheffins charged a 23.4% buyer's premium above the 2,800 GBP hammer price. Assuming then that the full cost of this lot at auction was 3,455 GBP and that an art gallery would be exempted from any additional VAT charges, that would make the dealer's markup 88% above cost.

Ronald Searle Remembered exhibition sale price, May 22 - June 9, 2012, Chris Beetles Gallery

Ronald Searle, Adolf Eichmann on Trial, Chris Beetles Gallery

Note:  My most recent blog post about Ronald Searle includes Searle art along with that of three other New Yorker artists and can be found here.



  1. I saw these listed for sale a while back. I have to say that I was surprised the Eichmann made so little. I would have thought this would have stirred up a little more competition from museums interested in historical/WW2 pieces.

    1. I agree, Professor. This would make a powerful museum piece. Of course, I don't know how well museums are able to compete with private individuals in the auction market.