Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Addams Family: Wednesday and Pugsley Back from Summer Camp

With the art world still reeling over the nearly $300,000,000 sale price achieved by a Gauguin painting of two Tahitian women, it is my contrarian preference to note instead a strong showing on the opposite end of the arts spectrum. An original classic New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams did fetch a rather nice price of its own at Christie's last month. While $30,000 is not quite a world record for the cartoonist who created the Addams Family--a drawing of Uncle Fester in a movie theater sold for $40,625 in 2012--and barely even a  tiny sliver of the price of the record-shattering Gauguin, it is still significantly more money than other classic New Yorker cartoon art attracts at auction, with the exception perhaps of that created by Saul Steinberg--and there we're not really talking plain cartoons anymore. To further drive home a ridiculous point, at present, Charles Addams occupies the place among New Yorker cartoonists that Paul Gauguin holds in the fine arts. But here we see you can get a splendid Addams with six members of the Addams Family for a mere 0.01% of the price of a top Gauguin.  And Paul Gauguin, even on his best day in Tahiti, possessed barely 0.01% of Addams's macabre sense of humor.

Charles Addams, "It's the children, darling, back from camp."
Original art, The New Yorker, August 30, 1947, page 20

Christie's New York January 13-14, 2015, Sale 3700, Lot 42
Charles Addams's signature

Inscribed "For the DM/with all my love/PB." Huh? Den Mother?  Poppa Bear?

Detail with caption and inscription
Charles Addams, "It's the children, darling, back from camp."
The New Yorker, August 30, 1947, page 20

Note:  Be sure to check out this blog's other posts about Charles Addams. With a little luck, you won't lose too much sleep.

There are also a number of posts with original New Yorker cartoon art, a favorite subject around here.

As long as I mentioned Saul Steinberg, you might as well see some of the amazing art he created.

As for Paul Gauguin, I've got nothing. But I'm told the state museums of Qatar have come into a pretty nice painting.


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