Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Donald and Ivana Trump at the Plaza by LeRoy Neiman

In 1988 Donald Trump appointed his first wife Ivana Trump president of the Plaza Hotel. She was paid a salary of "$1 a year plus all the dresses she can buy."

The New York Times, March 29, 1988

A pair of respective sketches of Donald and Ivana Trump by illustrator LeRoy Neiman are currently offered on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $50,000 or the Make Offer option. The sketches were made at the Plaza Hotel and are dated May 18, 1988. Ivana is shown wearing an evening dress that is presumably part of her compensation. These drawings certainly look like original works of art, but in the description the seller muddles the issue by first calling them "sketches" and later "prints," as if the two terms are interchangeable. For the record, they are not. The inscription suggests that these sketches originally may have been given by the artist to Ivana Trump.

LeRoy Neiman, Ivana Trump and Donald Trump

LeRoy Neiman, Donald Gemini Trump Looking Good at the Plaza, 5-18-'88

LeRoy Neiman, Inscribed "At the Plaza/Of and for Ivana [Trump] 5-18-'88 with Love/LeRoy Neiman"

eBay Listing as of January 30, 2017

eBay Item Description

LeRoy Neiman with Mr. and Mrs. Trump on June 27, 1988,
about six weeks after the event at the Plaza
Photo by Ron Galella
Getty Images

LeRoy Neiman, Ivana Trump and Donald Trump

July 30, 2017 Update: The price has been reduced rather significantly.

Note:  This is the first appearance of LeRoy Neiman on the blog.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #555

Sharpen your teeth and read my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #555 for January 30, 2017. The drawing is by Jason Adam Katzenstein.
"I just don't see the point of the Mannequin Challenge."

February 1, 2017 Update:  The Semifinalists

February 6, 2017 Update:  The Finalists

February 20, 2017 Update:  I voted for the third caption. Tough choice.

February 27, 2017 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  Last week, cartoonist Mick Stevens sent in the clown. My caption would have failed me out of Clown College. See the results of the Greatest Cartoon Caption Contest on Earth #554.

Jason Adam Katzenstein has previously appeared on this blog not as a cartoonist but as a caption contest winner!

With only about five months to go until Shark Week, you can prepare for everyone's favorite summer predator by reading my collected posts about sharks.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Hand of Donald Trump

A drawing of a hand by Donald Trump differs in subject matter from the skylines he usually draws. Most likely it is the outline of his own hand, but the thumb appears disproportionately large and the overall effect is cartoony. It is being offered on eBay for $49,500, although thankfully the Make Offer option is available.

Donald Trump, Hand

Donald Trump's signature

Donald Trump, Hand

eBay Listing as of January 28, 2017

eBay Item Description

July 30, 2017 Update:  The eBay listing was ended on the day of my original blog post—perhaps an hour earlier—and the item was said to be no longer available.

Note:  Maybe you haven't heard much about Donald Trump lately, but I doubt it. He's not an artist, but he's not afraid to draw if he's asked. I'm interested in archiving some of his drawings here on the blog. I mean, who else will? So please send along scans or photos of whatever original Trump drawings you've got. One day the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library will be clamoring for information about such things.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Donald Trump Draws for the Mask Project

At Hospice of Metro Denver's Mask Project in 2006, a series of twenty-five masks decorated by celebrities was sold at auction to benefit the charity. Donald Trump's donation was a mask on which he made a drawing of the New York skyline. His mask sold for $4,700 in 2006, a significant proportion of the $26,125 total, but the same mask went for only $1,802.77 when it was resold this month on eBay. Over the intervening decade, Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency of the United States. Legions of collectors seek out Presidential signatures and memorabilia. A signed drawing on a ceramic mask, mounted and framed with a signed photo, is an absolutely unique memento sure to be desired by many. Why on earth should such an artifact lose value when its creator is elected to the highest office in the land?

To begin with, auction prices aren't an exact science. The same collectible wouldn't be expected to fetch the exact same price at any two different times. Some random variation in price could be at work here, but there may be other factors too.

The two auction venues are very different ones. A charity auction in which wealthy participants are brought in from Las Vegas is the kind of event where bidders actually want to overpay to support the charity publicly and, yes, to appear magnanimous. On eBay, bidders are anonymous and are generally looking to pay as little as they need to in order to win the item. That is why, in this week-long auction, seven of the thirty-five bids were placed in the final thirty seconds of the auction.

Donald Trump himself is a divisive figure in American politics. His working-class supporters may not necessarily be able to bid thousands of dollars for an artistic work such as this even though they might appreciate it. His detractors, on the other hand, might be averse to bidding on such an item even if it is a good deal.

Finally, time may have been unkind to this piece. The colors over the central part of the face have faded considerably, it seems.

Donald Trump, The Mask Project, 2006

eBay Listing Ended January 19, 2017

eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
Thirty-five bids, seven of them in the final thirty seconds

Note:  Drawings by Donald Trump are fair game on the blog now. It you've got something to share, please send a scan or photo along with the story behind it. Presidential historians will thank you and I will thank you.

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