Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Ronald Searle: Idyll

Ronald Searle's Idyll (1973) is a sweet yet somewhat mystifying evocation of spring. His cats were generally popular and, to his frustration, sold lithographs far better than did his non-feline satirical work. Here one of his delightful cats prances about outdoors piping music. Add to that a few dozen unappreciative birds, many of them nesting, and a single reticent pig, and you have—just what, exactly? You have an idyll without an audience.

Idyll
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in colors
No. 47/99, 1973

Idyll
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in colors
No. 47/99, 1973

Ronald Searle's signature


Ronald Searle
Auktionshaus Mehlis GmbH listing accessed August 9, 2022
August 27, 2022, lot 4075


Sold! The sale price, with an English translation:



Idyll was included in More Cats (1975), shown here, but not in the book, alongside They're All Against Me, another lithograph:







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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Ronald Searle: The Greatest Show on Earth

Ronald Searle's 1969 lithograph The Greatest Show on Earth depicts a circus animal trainer taking the whip to a giant stumbling fly. It demonstrates Searle's penchant for incorporating the grotesque into his unique graphic humor. He no doubt expected to sell much of the full edition of 99 signed and numbered prints; whether he succeeded is anyone's guess today. An additional ten artist's proofs were also struck. On August 27, this original lithograph was sold at auction in Germany for the opening bid of 80 euros. At this unique moment in history, that comes to precisely $80 US.

The Greatest Show on Earth
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in black, red, blue, violet, and olive green
Gurlitt 47
No. 40/99, 1969

The Greatest Show on Earth
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in black, red, blue, violet, and olive green
Gurlitt 47
No. 40/99, 1969

Ronald Searle's signature


Ronald Searle
Auktionshaus Mehlis GmbH listing accessed August 8, 2022
August 27, 2022, lot 4076



Afterward the edition was published, Searle repurposed the image on the black plate for an exhibition poster promoting a July 1060 show in Avignon. The exhibition featured the work of eight artists including Searle himself. The black-and-white version of the lithograph was published in an edition of 30 with three artist's proofs. 
Galerie Wolfgang Gurlitt catalogue nos. 47 and 48






Sale result with added English translation:






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Monday, August 29, 2022

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #816

What is one to make of The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #816 from the issue of August 29, 2022, with its obvious reference to a common phrase? How closely should a good caption allude to that phrase? My caption is shown below. The drawing is by Suerynn Lee.

"Not everyone is meant to be a bricklayer."



These captions didn't hold up:


"It's like talking to a common cliche."
"You never listen to what I say. It's like, it's like...I wish I could think of the right simile."
"And how do you think you're going to drink that?"
"Who do you like besides Pink Floyd?"
"I'm not going to sew you into your shirt every day."
"Red isn't your color."
"No kidding? My grandfather was a Mason."







September 5, 2022 Update:  The Finalists






September 16, 2022 Update:
  I voted for the caption from Burien.



September 19, 2022 Update:
  The Winner







 

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Sunday, August 28, 2022

Jean-Jacques Sempé: Window View

Jean-Jacques Sempé, who passed away on August 11, left us a trove of outstanding cartoon work. In an untitled ink and wash drawing, a man in a three-piece suit surveys his world from a garden window. The art was sold at Christie's Paris in 2017.


Jean-Jacques Sempé
Christie's Paris, December 4, 2017, Lot 60





Note:  If this drawing, or one similar to it, was published, please let me know.

Owners of original work by Jean-Jacques Sempé can share it with the world right here through this blog.



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Saturday, August 27, 2022

Ilonka Karasz: The Fall of Icarus

An etching by the artist Ilonka Karasz bears the inscription "For Jean with love." It is dated Christmas 1964 and signed Ilonka. It comes from the estate of author and editor Jean Sulzberger (1922-2016) and showed up on eBay about seven months after her passing. The eBay seller identified the subject as an angel, perhaps a fallen angel, which makes some sense given the obvious shedding of feathers from the wings and the recipient's interest in religion and spirituality. Artistically, though, the subject matter seems more to be in the tradition of the fall of Icarus.
Inscribed "For Jean with Love   Christmas 1964, Ilonka"






Ilonka Karasz
eBay Listing Ended September 18, 2016


Ilonka Karasz
eBay Item Description

Ilonka Karasz
eBay Bid History
Purchased with Buy It Now






Note:  Jean Sulzberger's paid death notice may be viewed in the Times.

I would be eager to hear from anyone with more information about this etching by Ilonka Karasz or of any like prints she created.





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Friday, August 26, 2022

Charles Addams: Another Flashing Fester

Ten years ago I coined the term "Flashing Festers" to signify a specific type of souvenir drawing made by Charles Addams. These sketches featured his Addams Family character Uncle Fester engaged in some socially inappropriate behavior, if you will. The drawings typically have a dedication written across Fester's exposed chest and abdomen. The term hasn't caught on, but it still serves my purposes as the drawings continue to surface. 

Now we have one that was just sold on eBay accompanied by outstanding documentation of its authenticity. It is drawn on New Yorker stationery, indicating most probably that Addams created it in response to some office fan mail. Furthermore, the note was mailed, folded, in a New Yorker envelope. It is fully addressed in Addams's own unmistakeable hand with his surname also handwritten above the magazine's return address. It was postmarked on January 7, 1975 in New York, NY en route to Fort Lauderdale. Now, forty-seven years later, thirteen bidders placed fifty-five bids, and the drawing sold on August 21 for the not unreasonable price of $460.99.





Charles Addams
eBay listing ended August 21, 2022


Charles Addams
eBay item description

Charles Addams
A highlight from the eBay bid history








Note:  My original post on the Flashing Festers of Charles Addams can be viewed in the archives here.


More original drawings of Uncle Fester, flashing and otherwise, would make welcome submissions to this blog.




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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ronald Searle: The Visit of the Magic Eyeball

It's hard to say exactly what Ronald Searle was thinking when he created his lithograph
The Visit of the Magic Eyeball back in 1970. Searle's dark, morbidly surrealistic vision couldn't have done much for his print sales, especially when collectors could instead opt for his fanciful cats, yet he somehow expected to sell 99 of these. His imposing, overwrought cityscapes frequently reflected obvious environmental concerns, but this print could equally be the expression of a sort of comic horror about the surveillance state. How well this edition sold when originally published is probably unknowable, but at auction earlier this month a single lithograph certainly failed to find a buyer.
The Visit of the Magic Eyeball
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in black, violet, pink, and olive green
Gurlitt 52
No. 13/99, 1970

The Visit of the Magic Eyeball
Ronald Searle
Lithograph in black, violet, pink, and olive green
Gurlitt 52
No. 13/99, 1970

Ronald Searle's signature

Verso

Ronald Searle
Rachel Davis Fine Arts
August 13, 2022, lot 355


Ronald Searle
Rachel Davis Fine Arts item description




No sale!




It's interesting that the Gurlitt catalogue assigned this print a date of 1969 when Searle clearly signed it in 1970.
Galerie Wolfgang Gurlitt catalogue no. 52

Presale bidding on lots 355 and 354












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