Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Dream House: Constantin Alajálov New Yorker Cover Art

Sure, Constantin Alajálov's New Yorker cover of May 15, 1954 is in its essence a comment on postwar real estate development, but it doesn't depict a typical suburban tract. Instead, we get to see this average-looking couple's dream house and--surprise!--it's modernist. Alajálov has used his prodigious skills as an illustrator not only to show us what can't be shown in any other medium, but also to subvert our conventional expectations. What a fine illustration this is!
Constantin Alajálov, Framed original artwork, The New Yorker, May 15, 1954

Back in 2007 when this original artwork was sold, I was a novice at preserving online auction sales records although I did make one or two halting attempts. This blog did not exist in those days, of course; I was copying the sales records for myself and I knew better than to try my hand at anything so preposterous as writing a blog. This Alajálov piece is one of those rare eBay auctions from that time period that I did manage somehow to archive, unnecessarily, as it turns out. The auction house's own online archive still records the sale. A bit of redundancy is good for the internet, no?

The eBay record:

 The Pook & Pook auction house record, which includes the 22% buyer's premium:

Constantin Alajálov, The New Yorker, May 15, 1954

Note:  Am I alone in this? It occurs to me that there must be other folks with a similar obsessive bent and perhaps a better track record than mine at preserving old auction sales of vintage illustration art. If you are likewise afflicted and you'd like to share your archival records of relevant auctions here, please get in touch.

Constantin Alajálov was no one-hit wonder. See other blog posts about him here.

Would you care to see more original New Yorker cover art? You've come to the right place! Check out the archives here.


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