Thu
Oct 16 2008 6:09pm

State of the Art

The ShadowJane and Howard Frank are world-renowned for their extensive collection of fantasy and science fiction art, so it was understandable that the collecting community was buzzing when it was announced that the couple were putting some of their drawings and paintings up for sale. On October 15 Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, TX, offered 124 original works for bid and, despite all the worries about the economy, buyers were ready and waiting with their checkbooks in hand.

Some of the sales highlights (the price includes a 19.5% buyer's premium)included:

* “War Maid of Mars” by Allen Anderson (the cover painting for the May, 1953 issue of Planet Stories) - $38,837.50

* “Chronicles of the Lensman” by John Berkey - $13,145.00

* “Crashing the Unknown” by Chesley Bonestell - $31,070.00

* “The Alter of Melek” by Margaret Brundage (the cover pastel for the September, 1932 issue of Weird Tales) - $50,787.00

* “Newscast” by Norman Saunders (the cover painting for the April/May, 1939 issue of Marvel Science Stories) - $41,825.00

* “A Fighting Man of Mars” by Michael Whelan - $20,315.00

Paintings by Boris Vallejo ($11,950.00), Lawrence Sterne-Stevens ($10,157.00), Dean Morrissey ($11,651.25), Richard Corben ($10,755.00), and Phil Hale ($9560.00) all found new homes after lively bidding. Perhaps the biggest surprise price-wise was the $8,962.00 generated by Stephen Fabian's 1985 acrylic painting “Solitude”—which I think is a record (at least at auction) for the artist’s work.

The Frank Collection was the final session of Heritage’s larger October Signature Illustration Auction. Some of the highlights of earlier auction sessions included the sale of works by Haddon Sunblom ($107,550.00 for an untitled pin-up), Gil Elvgren ($89,625.00 for “Sitting Pretty”), J.C. Leyendecker ($65,725.00 for “The Carolers”), Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman ($31,070.00 for “See-Through Dress,” a 4-page Little Annie Fanny story from Playboy), and George Rozen ($47,800.00 for “The Creeping Death,” the cover for the January 15, 1933 issue of The Shadow pulp).

4 comments
Irene Gallo
1. Irene
It's heartening to hear the collectors are going strong, especially with IlluxCon, the artist/collector convention, coming up in a few weeks: http://www.illuxcon.com/
eric orchard
2. orchard
Great post Mr. Fenner! I'm a big fan-both of your art and your books. I also really enjoyed the interview on Side Bar( 8 Phil Hales!!!) That Allen Anderson painting is one of the most beautiful SF images I've seen. Just wonderful.
Swain@sidebar
3. Swain@sidebar
John Berkey, Michael Whelan and a Shadow painting? You can't go wrong there. And it's awesome to see art fetching those kinds of prices in this struggling economy--means there's hope!

Nice article, Arnie, and hi Eric!
Arnie Fenner
4. ArnieFenner
Thanks for the very nice welcome!

It was interesting to watch the auction progress via Heritage's streaming video—seeing how quickly prices could shoot up reminded me of how modest our budget for art is when compared to those of other collectors. Fun to watch, though.

Until Dwight and Swain asked, I don't think Cathy and I had really thought about how many of Phil's paintings we'd bought through the years. As I mentioned in the interview, Phil's been kind, we've been lucky, and we're both thankful for the day jobs!

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