Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jill Krementz Photo Journal - “Capture the Imagination”

Leo and Diane Dillon photographed by Jill Krementz at the Bloomsbury Gallery on December 1, 2009. They are standing in front of a few of their illustrations which will be auctioned off on Wednesday, December 9th.

We once heard a statement, to 'make life an art.' And that really intrigued us because it
meant that if you cooked the meal, you should make that art. If you painted your rooms, make
that art. Make art everything you touch and everything you do. That must be the ideal of life.
“Capture the Imagination”
Bloomsbury Auctions New York
December 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Even if you don't want to bid, you should drop by Bloomsbury Auctions located at 6 West 48th Street in Manhattan where you can view some of the great works from the Golden Age of Illustration to the present day.

On view are many of the treasures that will be auctioned off: Maurice Sendak's original designs for the Wild Things Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, William Steig's watercolors for the original Shrek!, and art works by Leo and Diane Dillon, Edward Gorey, Arnold Lobel, and Al Hirschfeld. Illustrated books include rare first editions by Theodor Geisl, better known as Dr. Seuss.

The auction will commence with artwork (100 lots) from the estate of Tom Feelings, one of the first book illustrators to focus on the lives of an underclass of people long neglected in the States. His work appeared in books by Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, and Sonia Sanchez. Mr. Feelings died in 2003.

The show has been organized by consultants Nia Taylor and Michael Patrick Hearn. The catalogue is great.

Exhibition viewings are:
Saturday December 5, 10 am- 3 pm
Monday December 7, 10 am- 5 pm
Tuesday December 8, 10 am- 5 pm
Wednesday December 9, 10 am- 1 pm
Or by private appointment
Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) in Random House Office.

It's wrong to talk about what's wrong with children today. They are living in an environment that we made. When enough people are worrying enough--about war, the environment, illiteracy--we'll begin to get those problems solved.
"Dr. Seuss" with young fans at Rich's Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia. May 27, 1998.
Theodor Geisel at American Booksellers Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. May 28, 1978.
Theodor Geisel at his 80th birthday party.
Lot 246

SEUSS, Dr. [Theodor Seuss Geisel]
(1904 - 1991) The Cat in the Hat. New York: Random House, 1957. Small 8vo. [62] pp. Decorated matte boards in dust jacket. Condition: minimal wear. Younger/ Hirsch 7. first edition.

[With:] Copy of the second printing in dust jacket: three signatures in decorated glossy boards. [And:] A copy of the Hebrew edition of the sequel The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958). (3)

$5000 – $8000
Edward Gorey is one of the most celebrated and highly collected modern American illustrators. A true eccentric, Gorey had a wide cult following until he entered into the mainstream with his Tony award winning costume designs for the Broadway production of Dracula in 1977. Many viewers are familiar with his design for the opening credits of mystery theatre on PBS. His home in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, where he created many of his witty and macabre drawings, is now a museum.
Edward Gorey at home in New York City.

No one ever lets me explain what I mean about the reality of my books! Everyone always thinks, "Isn't it amusing that this is his idea of reality!" What I am most interested in is Japanese and Chinese literature. I have always felt that those writers are much better at describing everyday reality — what life is like day to day. I know that my work does not seem to be about reality, but it is! God knows that day-to-day reality is certainly drab to the point of lunacy sometimes. And that means that you have to leave an awful lot out. I have a fairly eccentric talent, but I try to tone it down rather than heighten it. Most people, I think, take the opposite approach; if they write a novel about everyday life, it winds up being wildly melodramatic. Classical Japanese literature concerns very much what is left out.
Left: Lot 264

GOREY, Edward (1925 - 2000) Portrait of a young man. Pen and ink (122 x 72 mm). signed in ink. Illustration for an unidentified publication. Framed. Provenance: James Marshall.

$2000 – $3000

Lot 265

GOREY, Edward (1925 - 2000) Silver bat Silver cloth with shoe-button eyes; stuffed with rice (190 x 360 mm). Bean bag toy designed and hand-stitched by the artist. Provenance: James Marshall.
Al Hirschfeld was America's leading theatrical caricaturist. His lively black and white sketches that frequently appeared in the New York Herald Tribune and The New York Times became as famous as the stars and shows they depicted. Many of his drawings are now housed in permanent collections around the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum on Modern Art. In 2003, The Martin Beck Theatre was renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to celebrate his contribution to the theatre and Broadway in particular.
Al Hirschfeld photographed in the studio on the top floor of his Manhattan townhouse (now landmarked) on December 4th, 1991.
The art of caricature, or rather the special branch of it that interests me, is not necessarily one of malice. It is never my aim to destroy the play or the actor by ridicule. The passion of personal conviction belongs to the playwright; the physical interpretation of the character belongs to the actor; the delineation in line belongs to me. My contribution is to take the character — created by the playwright and acted out by the actor — and reinvent it for the reader.
Al Hirschfeld photographed later the same day, playing the piano in his living room.
Lot 224

HIRSCHFELD, Al (1903 - 2003) Mayfair. Pen and ink drawing (305 x 203 mm). signed in ink.

$4000 – $6000
Lot 226

(1903 - 2003) Jake and the Fatman. Pen and ink drawing, 1987, (685 x 533 mm). signed in ink. A caricature of William Conrad and Joe Penny in the popular TV show.

$2000 – $3000
Arnold Lobel was an award winning author and illustrator whose beloved children's books include the Frog and Toad series and the 1981 Caldecott winner, Fables. His work has been translated into many languages and the Broadway musical A Year with Frog and Toad was commissioned by his daughter, the set designer Adrianne Lobel. Most of Mr. Lobel's art for children's books has been donated to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.
There is a little world at the end of my pencil. I am the stage director, the costume designer, and the man who pulls the curtain.
Lot 289

LOBEL, Arnold
(1933 - 1987) Owl at Home Pen, ink and pencil with 2 color separations (116 x 81 mm). Illustration for the title page of Owl at Home New York: Harper & Row, 1975.Provenance: acquired directly from the artist's estate.

$10000 – $15000
Lot 291

LOBEL, Arnold
(1933 - 1987). Madame Rhinoceros and Her Dress. Mixed media (220 x 135 mm). Illustration for Fables, New York: Harper & Row, 1980, p.27. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist's estate.

$20000 – $30000
Lot 290

LOBEL, Arnold
(1933 - 1987) Frog and Toad Together. Mixed media with 4 separations (237 x 162 mm). Jacket design for Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Together, Harper & Row, 1972. Matted. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist's estate.

$20000 – $30000
Lot 292

LOBEL, Arnold
(1933 - 1987) Frog and Toad Coloring Book. Watercolor (256 x 186 mm). Jacket design for Frog and Toad Coloring Book, New York: Harper & Row, 1981. Provenance: acquired directly from the artist's estate.

$30000 – $40000
Maurice Sendak is the most important children's book illustrator working today. He received a Caldecott medal for his classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are and became the first American illustrator to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970. Very few original drawings by Sendak have come on the market because most of his original work has been donated to the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia.
Maurice Sendak on his set for American Repertory Ballet's Where the Wild Things Are, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
For more than fifty years Maurice Sendak has challenged established ideas about what children's literature is and should be with the books he has written and illustrated. The youngest son of immigrants from a shtetl just outside Warsaw, Sendak grew up in Brooklyn. In his collaboration with Isaac Bashevis Singer, illustrating Zlateh the Goat (1966), a particular pleasure for him was hearing Singer read his stories in the original Yiddish, the language spoken in Sendak's childhood home. He readily admits that such passions and influences from his own life — Mozart, Melville, opera, the Holocaust, his annoying relatives, and his childhood hatred of school and bouts of pneumonia — all creep into his books, whether in fine details of illustration or in the primary fears of his characters.
Lot 311

SENDAK, Maurice
(b. 1928) And there, by magic arts, the Bee-Man was changed back into a baby. Watercolor and sepia ink (215 x 180 mm). signed in ink. Preliminary design for an illustration in Frank R. Stockton, The Bee-Man of Orn, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964, p. 43. Framed and matted.

$30000 – $40000
Lot 323

SENDAK, Maurice
(b. 1928) Wild Thing Balloon. Two watercolors (each 220 x 170 mm). Executed for the front and back of the Wild Thing Balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; with two pencil studies for the balloon, both signed and dated 'july-august 1998'. Four works framed together.

$35000 – $45000
William Steig contributed cartoons to The New Yorker for over seventy years. He turned to children's books in the 1960s and immediately won the prestigious Caldecott medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. The works of art to be sold by Bloomsbury Auctions New York on December 9th are being offered to benefit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The estate has donated all the remaining art from his picture books to the institution. His book Shrek! was the basis of the highly successful 2001 computer animated motion picture and the 2008 Broadway musical.
William Steig, New Preston, CT.

Despair is the human condition. My editor once said to a cartoonist who said he didn't despair, "Who are you not to feel despair?" My colleagues all have a moral concern about things — they all seem to be depressives. I don't think a completely joyous guy would be a cartoonist, because satirizing implies you're unhappy about something. I've always had the conviction that people are not what people should be, and that people can be more beautiful than they are. I've always felt that something went wrong and it was my business to find out what happened.
Lot 330

STEIG, William
(1907 - 2003) One of his hobbies was collecting pebbles of unusual shape and color. Watercolor, ink and pencil (195 x 190 mm). Preliminary illustration for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, New York, Windmill Books, 1969. signed in ink. Provenance: William Steig Estate.

$15000 – $20000
Lot 335

STEIG, William
(1907 - 2003) Gorky Rises. Watercolor, ink and pencil (175 x 190 mm). signed in ink. Preliminary version of an illustration in Gorky Rises, New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1980, p. 29. Matted. Provenance: William Steig Estate.

$8000 – $12000
Lot 336

STEIG, William
(1907 - 2003) Then he stumbled down the stairs in a daze. Watercolor, ink and pencil (195 x 190 mm).signed in ink. Preliminary version of an illustration in Doctor De Soto, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1982. Provenance: William Steig Estate.

$12000 – $15000
Lot 339

STEIG, William
(1907 - 2003) Shrek! Watercolor, ink and pencil. (285 x 240 mm). Preliminary jacket design for Shrek!. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1990. Provenance: William Steig Estate.

$15000 – $20000
Leo and Diane Dillon are perhaps the most versatile husband and wife team of illustrators working today. For nearly sixty years, they have created stunning illustrations for books, album covers, posters, advertisements and other publications in a wide variety of media. The Dillons are the only artists to receive two consecutive Caldecott Medals for Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears (1976) and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (1977). Their many other awards include a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and a Hugo Award from the International Science Fiction Association. The couple currently reside in Brooklyn, New York.
Leo and Diane Dillon at the Bloomsbury Gallery. The Dillons met when they were both young students studying graphic design at Parsons. They married in 1957 and have illustrated over 50 books. They work out of their townhouse in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn where they "collaborate on everything, using every technique--wash, acrylic, pastels and oil." They are both 76 years old, born eleven days apart. "He's the old one," says Diane.
Lot 257

DILLON, Leo and Dian
e (b. 1933) H/Hausa. Watercolor and pastel on illustration board (170 x 157 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for Margaret Musgrove, Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, New York: Dial Press, 1976. Matted. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$15000 – $20000
Lot 258

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) The Sorcerer grabbed his sleeping apprentice by his dirty collar and shook him from his dreams. Watercolor (285 x 383 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for Michael Patrick Hearn, The Porcelain Cat, Boston: Little, Brown, 1985. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$6000 – $8000
Lot 259

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby. Illustration for Virginia Hamilton, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (234 x 183 mm). signed by the artists. New York: Knopf, 1985, p. 17. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$6000 – $8000
Lot 260

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) The crowd was shocked to see her run and embrace him. Acrylic on acetate and marblelized paper (205 x 155 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for Leontyne Price, Aida, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$10000 – $15000
Lot 261

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) Sylvia…climbed the stair. Watercolor (356 x 335 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for Nancy Willard, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, New York: Blue Sky Press, 1993, p. 5. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$10000 – $15000
Lot 262

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) A time of war. Acrylic and gilt painted on acetate (223 x 207 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for To Everything There Is a Season, New York: Blue Sky Press, 1998. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$10000 – $15000
Lot 263

DILLON, Leo and Diane
(b. 1933) A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Watercolor and Ink (190 x 458 mm). signed by the artists. Illustration for To Everything There Is a Season, New York: Blue Sky Press, 1998. Provenance: acquired directly from the artists.

$15000 – $20000
Nia Taylor and Michael Patrick Hearn, the consultants for the auction, with artists Diane and Leo Dillon. Ms. Taylor is an NYU graduate student in Visual Arts Administration and Mr. Hearn is a Children's Literature Scholar.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.