Monday, January 28, 2013

Ronald Searle's Tower of Light

Ronald Searle's Tower of Light depicts an exhibition from the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. The Electric Power and Light Companies' Exhibit demonstrated our abundant energy resources by wasting as much of them as conceivable. A similar exhibit had been at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

I'm just about certain this illustration was published in the July 1964 issue of Holiday magazine, just as I was pretty much certain I had a copy of it around here somewhere at Blog Central. I'd like to tell you that my home is an immaculate archive of scholarly research material, but it would be more accurate to say I can never find anything when I need it.

Swann Galleries gave this piece an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000, which is rather pricey for Searle in the American market. The hammer price was just above half the low estimate. Absentee bidding below half the low estimate is not permitted at Swann.

You might like to see how Charles Addams handled a similar subject in 1973 here.

Ronald Searle, Tower of Light
Presumably in Holiday, July 1964

Searle, Ronald. From Frozen North to Filthy Lucre. New York: Viking Press, 1964, Page 69.

Ronald Searle, Tower of Light
Swann Galleries, January 24, 2013

Last month Swann Galleries offered this poster of the attraction at auction. Note how lackluster this 1965 image is compared with Searle's:
Expo--New York, 1965
Follow the Tower of Light to the "Brightest Show on Earth" at the New York World's Fair

The following poster is currently offered on eBay for $400. It's a fairly staid corporate rendering, with nowhere near the wattage of Searle's watercolor.
Rudolph Assoc. NYC, Tower of Light, New York World's Fair 1964-1965
Electric Power and Light Companies' Exhibit

February 23, 2013 Update:  Now the price has gone up to $600 but there is the Make Offer option.

Image Added May 26, 2013

The Singing Tower of Light was part of the earlier 1939-1940 New York World's Fair:
Westinghouse Print Ad for the Singing Tower of Light at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair

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