One of the great joys of collecting animation art is the nostalgic value, because just about everything in the hobby evokes fond memories, some of which go back as far as childhood, when a movie or television show could allow a young viewer to migrate into another world.
Collectors who want to make such a trip will have ample opportunity to do so at Heritage Auctions’ Animation Art auction Dec. 9-10 in Beverly Hills, California, where a wide array of items will be available to collectors of all levels. Some favorites include:
1. A Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote Painting by Chuck Jones (Warner Brothers, c. 1990s), with a pre-auction estimate of $7,500+, captivates perfectly the spirit of one of the most popular cartoons of all time. In this case, Wile E. Coyote – who spent all of his time pursuing the speedy and clever Road Runner, is seated at a table, reading his choices on a menu that offers appetizing choices such as “road runner au gratin” and “road runner soup” … while blissfully unaware that the object of his culinary desires is standing right behind him. Legendary animation director Chuck Jones, who created the characters, did the 15-by-11-inch painting on Fine Art rag paper, which is framed with Plexiglas to achieve an overall size of 26 by 20 inches. The painting is hand-signed by Jones in the lower right corner, and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Linda Jones.
2. A Little Mermaid Sebastian Production Cel and Key Master Background (Walt Disney, 1989) (est. $5,000) spotlights one of the most popular supporting characters ever created as he listens to Chef Louie singing about an upcoming seafood feast in which Sebastian hopes to avoid being on the menu. The 1990 Art of The Little Mermaid Auction offered 283 cels, most being setups with Key Master hand-painted production backgrounds. This was lot No. 158 in that auction, which celebrated the artwork from the last Disney movie to use hand-painted production cels.
3. This How To Play Football Goofy Promo Illustration by Hank Porter (Walt Disney, 1944) (est. $5,000+), from the Jack Kinney-directed Academy Award-nominated short, a parody of college football features the “Goofies of Taxidermy Tech” taking on the “Goofies of Anthropology A&M.” Released in 1944, the short is considered a Goofy classic. The illustration in ink and white paint on a Craftint Duo-Board measures 14-1/4 by 17-1/2 inches. The hand-written caption reads, “Hey Stupid, play th’ game!”, with a ghost-like Devil Goofy pointing out the rules in a How to Play Football book, as poor Goofy jiggles a loose tooth.
4. DC and Marvel Underoos Illustration by Alex Toth (DC/Marvel/Fruit of the Loom, c. 1977-81) (est. $2,500+) contains multiple iconic characters in Superman, Spider-Man, Batgirl, Hulk, Wonder Woman and Supergirl. But what sets this apart, and already has made it coveted by numerous early bidders, is that it marks one of the rare instances when DC and Marvel characters appear together. Measuring 14 by 11 inches, this illustration is done in ink on lightweight Strathmore board and is signed by Toth in the lower right corner. It also was featured in the coffee table book Genius Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth.
5. A Dumbo Bath Scene Storyboard Drawing (Walt Disney, 1941) (est. $750+) captures the adorable Dumbo blowing a bubble while getting a bath from his mother, Mrs. Jumbo. There is a purity in Dumbo’s expression that mirrors the simplicity of the drawing itself, which was done in graphite on 8-by-9-inch storyboard paper. Originally sold via the Courvoisier Art Program, it includes a small WDP stamp in the bottom right corner.
Written by: Steve Lansdale