This week at Swann Galleries, the 20th century illustration sale is really about one man: the creator of the 1963 classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” Maurice Sendak, who died last year at the age of 83. A number of illustrations by the author will hit the block in New York on January 24, including a first-edition copy of his most famous book, signed and inscribed with the personalized drawing pictured above (est. $10,000-15,000).
Another signed first edition will also be included, though it does not include a drawing on the title page (est. $8,000-12,000). In total, the auction will feature more than 60 items by Sendak, both drawings and rare book editions.
There will also be work by a number of other well-known illustrators hitting the block. A watercolor by Ludwig Bemelmans, best known for his Madeleine children’s book series, depicting a summer party in Connecticut could fetch $5,000-7,500. A smaller, signed watercolor of Madeleine herself is estimated to hammer down for $3,500-5,000.
A watercolor of a pen on a bicycle by Fred Marcellino (pictured below) that was famously used to illustrate Thomas Pynchon’s 1984 book “Slow Learner,” is one of the more vivid offerings of the sale. It is first time Marcellino’s work has appeared at auction, and the estimate for the work is $6,000-9,000.
— Shane Ferro
(Image top: Detail of a drawing included in the first-edition copy of “Where the Wild Things Are,” lot 12 in the sale; Image bottom: Fred Marcellino, “Slow Learner;” both images Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries)