Saturday, June 30, 2012

French Fishermen by George Grosz

Here is an ink sketch from 1922 by George Grosz showing two French fishermen drawn to different scales. The 1920's is probably the most sought-after period in Grosz's work, and the drawing sold for more than twice its estimate.

George Grosz,  Französische Fischerleute (French Fishermen)

George Grosz,  Französische Fischerleute (French Fishermen)

Note:  My previous post on a Berlin Street Scene by George Grosz can be found here.


Book Review: Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula (1974)
Toni Morrison

Sula is Toni Morrison's second novel. It is very complex and very disturbing. Parts of it seem very real, but there are some truly horrific acts here which seem to defy explanation.

Whites don't come off well here; that's a given, I suppose. Yet I don't think racism alone explains all the suffering among the blacks of the Bottom, this book's aptly-named community. For that matter, neither does the first World War.

There's little to admire among the black men in this book, drawn to alcohol, drugs, and infidelity. But even the matriarch Eva commits a shockingly violent act against her own son. Is she mentally ill? Is there one single cause for all the sorrow in this book, or rather, as it seems to me, does cause pile upon cause?

Sula, the title character at the center of the novel, is something of a cipher herself, a morally empty character amidst the many empty spaces of the book. I don't find much to like in her, and I can't help thinking this community would have been much better off without her. But Morrison slyly has the community gain strength with its opposition to Sula, and lose its cohesiveness when she is no longer a factor.


Book Review: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped (1886)
Robert Louis Stevenson

I started this book as a youth, but I abandoned it along the way for reasons I don't now recall. Today, coming back to Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson years later, I am stunned to find I don't recall a single word or event from even the beginning of the tale. So it goes.

The story is surprisingly political, full of Scottish clan maneuvering and Jacobite intrigue. I've recently read The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory and A Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss, historical novels set in approximately this era with a decidedly British bent, but this particular book's political perspective was more that of Scotland.

I suppose I was expecting more of a swashbuckling adventure. The story is absolutely an adventure of sorts, but it is also a tale of family betrayal, of an odd friendship, and of local clan rivalries. It ends up following quite a more meandering course than Stevenson's Treasure Island, for example.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Band Concert Season

It's summertime and the season for band concerts. As a special treat, today's outdoor concert will be conducted by Mickey Mouse. We ask that all cell phones be turned off and that no one interrupt by playing extraneous tunes.

Speaking of extraneous toons, there is no Donald Duck cel here. Rather, Donald is painted directly on the custom-prepared background. This is an unusual enhancement, to say the least.

21 Nov 2005 10 a.m. New York
Animation Art
Auction 13844
A Walt Disney celluloid from “The Band Concert”
1935, the gouache on celluloid depicts Mickey Mouse as the conductor who gets very irate when Donald Duck continually interrupts the William Tell concert by playing "Turkey in the Straw" with his fife. Each time Mickey Mouse takes Donald’s fife, he takes another fife from his sleeve, the full celluloid is applied to a hand-prepared background of Donald Duck and the band’s platform, there is a 1/2 inch slit in cel just above Mickey's head, matted and framed. 
8 1/2 x 10 1/2in 

The Band Concert was Mickey Mouse’s first color short film. This scene is illustrated in “The Fifty Greatest Cartoons” on page 42.
Sold for US$ 2,350 inc. premium

Walt Disney Studios celluloid from “The Band Concert” (1935) on hand-prepared background

Video Still 2:03
Image added January 5, 2014

"The Band Concert" (1935)
Walt Disney Studios

January 6, 2014 Update:  The celluloid of Mickey from Bonhams is suspiciously close to the left side of a limited edition cel issued in 1978 for his 50th anniversary. In its favor, the Bonhams Mickey has a longer frown line and a crease under the eye which match the movie still, not the limited edition portfolio cel. The Bonhams cel also gives Mickey flesh tones which were not present in this animated short and do not appear in the limited edition either.
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck from "The Band Concert" (1935)
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary Commemorative Cel Portfolio, no. 100/275, 1978

Note:  My last Disney post appeared here. My previous post on "The Band Concert" can be found here.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

George Booth's Birthday and Murchison's Theory

Cartoonist George Booth celebrates his 86th birthday today. Last week Bonhams offered his "Murchison's theory..." drawing at auction. It did not sell, perhaps because of some pronounced fading. It's hard to judge without having the actual artwork in front of you, but this sheet of paper appears to have undergone a lot of discoloration in its first thirty years.

George Booth's originals frequently demonstrate a lot of cutting and pasting and they can almost look like a collage with skilfully rendered animals expertly pasted all over. That's how he gets so many splendid dogs and cats into so many drawings, and how he maintains the vitality present in his rough sketches.

George Booth, "Murchison's theory is that it's dog hair in your fuel line."
Original artwork published in The New Yorker, February 22, 1982

The New Yorker Cartoon Album 1975-1985
Cartoon, pen and ink with some watercolor on paper, 398 x 224 mm, signed ("Booth"), [1981], with New Yorker label on verso, matted and framed, visible images evenly toned, Booth's corrections, editor's marks to margins and verso.

Booth's caption for this New Yorker comic reads:"Murchison's theory is that it's dog hair in your fuel line."

Estimate:    US$ 800 - 1,200
£510 - 770

€640 - 960

George Booth, "Murchison's theory is that it's dog hair in your fuel line."
The New Yorker, February 22, 1982

George Booth, "Murchison's theory is that it's dog hair in your fuel line."
The New Yorker, February 22, 1982

George Booth, "Murchison's theory is that it's dog hair in your fuel line."
Original artwork published in The New Yorker, February 22, 1982

The New Yorker Cartoon Album 1975-1985

November 6, 2012 Update:  This lot was offered in the U.S. at Bonhams San Francisco on August 18, 2012 where it sold for $437 including the buyer's premium.

Note:  George Booth's drawing of Skippy is here.  When I first published this I had misplaced my source, but now it is properly attributed.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dumbo with the Magic Feather

Poor Dumbo!  Forced to be a circus clown, he's going to have to endure an impossibly high fall unless, of course, he can fly with the help of the magic feather. But he may not going to be able to hang on to it for long! This animation drawing is from Walt Disney's "Dumbo" (1941), but I bet you already knew that.

Note:  Don't miss Timothy Q. Mouse with the magic feather in yesterday's post.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Timothy Q. Mouse with the Magic Feather

If you've been following this blog from the beginning, as I have, you may know that I never omit the Q from the name Timothy Q. Mouse, certainly one of my favorite Disney characters. Just about the only thing better than an animation drawing of Timothy Q. Mouse from Walt Disney's "Dumbo" (1941) is an animation drawing of Timothy Q. Mouse with the magic feather. This one was sold at Bonhams in 2008.

Walt Disney Studios, animation drawing of Timothy Q. Mouse with the magic feather from "Dumbo" (1941)

21 Dec 2008 10 a.m. California, Los Angeles
Entertainment Memorabilia
Auction 16151
A Walt Disney animation drawing from “Dumbo”
1941, graphite on paper, depicting Timothy Mouse with the magic feather, annotated lower right 87, matted and framed. 

Dumbo and Timothy Mouse wake up from a drunken stupor and find themselves in a tree high up. They come to the conclusion that the only way that they could have gotten up there is that Dumbo flew them up there. The five passing crows befriend the two and see that Dumbo is nervous about trying to fly again. So they give him a “magic feather” (plucked from one of them) to boost his confidence.
8 ¾ x 11in within mat
Sold for US$ 330 inc. premium
Walt Disney Studios, animation drawing of Timothy Q. Mouse with the magic feather from "Dumbo" (1941)

Note:  My most recent Disney post can be found here. My only previous post with Timothy Q. Mouse is my second blog post here. If you don't know what the Q stands for, you should definitely check it out.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Koren Considerations

This piece of original advertising illustration art by Edward Koren is entitled What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals. It is already matted and was sold on eBay with the Buy It Now for less than $100, shipping included. A steal!

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals, matted

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals, matted

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals
EBay Winning Bid with Buy It Now

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals
EBay Item Description

Edward Koren, What to Consider Before Wading into Tax-Free Municipals

Note:  My previous post on artist Edward Koren includes a drawing recently added to my own collection and can be found here.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Parachuting Pachyderm

This original illustration of Babar's cousin Arthur parachuting to earth is from Laurent de Brunhoff's first book Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur. Laurent took over the Babar series which was created by his father Jean de Brunhoff based on stories his mother told Laurent and his brother Mathieu. In 2004, Laurent donated much early Babar material to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Laurent de Brunhoff, from Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur, 1946

Sale result added July 4, 2012

[End of auction listing]

Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur  by Laurent de Brunhoff

Babar and that Rascal Arthur by Laurent de Brunhoff
Laurent de Brunhoff, Babar and Arthur 
The Morgan Library & Museum
Laurent de Brunhoff, Babar's Cousin:  That Rascal Arthur
The Morgan Library & Museum

Babar: The Origins
 by Laurent de Brunhoff

Laurent de Brunhoff, from Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur, 1946


Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Year of Blogging

Welcome to my blog, one man's ongoing, angst-ridden quest to find solace in a tormenting world. Just kidding! Don't quote me on that.

Today marks the first anniversary of my first and only attempt at blogging. Over this past year there have been some 375 posts, which is just slightly more than one for each day, although to be truthful I did not actually remember to publish a post each and every day. At any rate, today this site is bigger and bloggier than ever and, yes, you can quote me on that.

Attempted Bloggery moves from topic to topic all the time, and perhaps that is one reason why few readers find it consistent enough to be worth following publicly. Indeed, this blog has won very few followers, only 17 to date from the entire bustling planet, but, on the other hand, there have been almost 80,000 page views in this inaugural year. To keep that number in perspective, animator Andreas Deja's outstanding blog Deja View has gotten one million page views in its first year and earned 3252 followers. You see, the competition is fierce. In short, search engines lead folks here every day, but despite the more than 350 daily page views, few have chosen to follow my blog publicly. That's OK, and, hey, lurkers are always welcome here.

There aren't too many blogs quite like this one, as far as I can gather. What I choose to share is, I suspect, a large part of the blog's appeal, certainly more so than whatever I have to say about any of it. In short, I write about what I like, and fortunately or unfortunately, that can be quite divers. I believe that not a few of the subjects I write about deserve a blog of their own, and indeed some topics do have one or even several blogs devoted to them elsewhere. The thing is, for the most part what I'm writing about is fairly obscure. I'm sure there may be a few dozen people out there who feel passionate about any particular subject, but for the most part I don't see myself muscling in on areas already well-covered by existing blogs.

For those who arrived here only recently, I'm afraid there is a lot to review over the past year, maybe too much. If you choose, of course, you are welcome to delve into the archives, but to get you up to speed quickly, all you really have to do is take a look at this brilliant New Yorker cartoon by Tom Cheney entitled Life. It pretty much sums up my view of the proceedings here to date. If memory serves, the original artwork was sold a few years ago through the Cartoon Bank for $1,800. Worth every penny, I'd say.

Tom Cheney, Life,
The New Yorker, August 11, 2003, Page 46
Tom Cheney, Life,
The New Yorker, August 11, 2003, Page 46

There you go! Now you're all set for the coming year!

Note:  Just in case you missed my very first blog post a year ago, you can still catch it here.