Where the wild things are for sale

Share via

The Swann Gallery in New York is holding a large auction of 20th century illustrations that features the works of Maurice Sendak. There are many books by Sendak and those he illustrated, some original sketches, signed books and a first edition of “Where the Wild Things Are,” with an inscription that includes a drawing of one of his Wild Thing monsters.

“Dear Reed -- This certainly looks like a first edition -- it has all the wrong colors in the right places!” Sendak wrote beside the figure of a dancing Wild Thing. His inscription and signature follow.

Swann Galleries said the first edition of “Where the Wild Things Are,” published in 1963, was printed with incorrect colors -- they were “off register” -- an error that was corrected in subsequent printings of the book. This signed first edition is listed at $10,000 to $15,000.


An even more valuable work up for auction is a single watercolor painting by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss). “Two Llamas in Peru,” framed so pencil drawings on the back can also be seen, is estimated to sell for $20,000 to $30,000.

Other works in the auction include a number of books by Edward Gorey, illustrations by Charles Addams and Peter Arno, and an original ink drawing by Garth Williams for a 1953 dust jacket of “Little House on the Prairie.” There are a number of original illustrations by Ludwig Bemelmans, including a signed stand-alone watercolor of Madeleine, listed at $3,500 to $5,000.

The auction includes an original 1940 New Yorker cover illustration by James Thurber, signed and in color; “Rites of Spring” features abstractly drawn figures frolicking naked. It includes illustrations by New Yorker regulars Addams, Arno and Al Hirschfeld. (The New Yorker’s book blog Page-Turner was where we learned about the auction).

Hirschfeld’s “The Counter Culture at Zabar’s,” listed at $8,000 to $12,000, is a slice of New York intellectual life; it features caricatures of Dwight MacDonald, Joseph Heller, Theodore Solotaroff, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Murray Kempton, James Wechsler, Jack Gelber, Jason Epstein, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Meyer Levin, Irving Howe, Robert Silvers, Wilfrid Sheed and Alfred Kazin.

There are also some newspaper comics in the auction: original pen-and-ink drawings of the strip “Li’l Abner” by Al Capp, “Popeye” by Tom Sims and Bill Zaboly, and Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts.” The 1953 “Peanuts” strip features Charlie Brown and Patty (not Peppermint Patty, she appeared later) and an “evocative display of Mid-Century Modern decor”; it’s listed at $25,000 to $35,000.



Happy Thomas Pynchon rumor day!

Everyone’s life is interesting: Defending confessional nonfiction

The Bernard Madoff book collection: Rick Moody, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Carolyn Kellogg: Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+