Comedian/philanthropist Jerry Lewis’ own, commissioned Norman Rockwell original art for ‘Cinderfella’ may bring $300,000+ in May 7 American Art Auction
DALLAS – Offered for the first time at auction, William Robinson Leigh’s iconic Indian Rider, 1918, is expected to exceed $400,000 on May 7, in Heritage Auctions’ spring American Art Auction in Dallas. With its expressive force, dramatic movement, bold color, and compositional integrity, this dynamic masterwork has been held in private hands for the last century and will be offered alongside legendary works across California, Western and Illustration Art.
“This auction defines the term ‘fresh to market’,” said Aviva Lehmann, Director of American Art. “The selection we’ve assembled includes fresh works never before seen at auction – many of which embody the height of these artists’ talents. For institutions and advanced collectors, this is a must-watch sale.”
In the arena of Illustration Art, the original promotional art for the 1960 film “Cinderfella” (est. $300,000-$500,000) is making its auction debut. Conceptualized by the film’s star and producer, the artwork embodies the artistic collaboration of two American legends: illustrator Norman Rockwell and comedian Jerry Lewis. It has remained in Mr. Lewis’ collection since Rockwell presented it to him in 1960. As the producer, Lewis oversaw every artistic and marketing detail of Cinderfella. “My whole idea was to get an icon in the world of art and have that icon sell the movie,” Lewis says in an exclusive interview filmed for Heritage Auctions.
Another important Rockwell painting in the auction is his classic Portrait of a Young Boy, circa 1955 (est. $100,000-$150,000). Possibly intended for Crest toothpaste advertisement, few subjects capture the artist’s mid-century appeal than his illustration portraits of children and adolescents. “Portrait of a Young Boy personifies post-World War II mainstream values of wholesomeness, good manners, and a clean-cut appearance,” Lehmann said. “Besides being just a wonderful representation of idealism, hard work, and family, the portrait is rare in that it was never published and could be an early study for one of Rockwell’s most successful campaigns, the “Look, Mom, no Cavities!” ads for Crest toothpaste.”
The auction will also include an extraordinary selection of Western & California art. “Ranging from the early west to the Taos school, there is a sliver of western history for everyone.” said Alissa Ford, Director of Western & California Art.
Highlighting the Taos Artists is Ernest Bluemenschein’s Aspen in the Square (est. $150,000-$250,000). Aspen in the Square “is truly a remarkable work by Blumenschein,” says Ford. “Its perspective leads us to believe that we are not necessarily a part of the procession, rather an onlooker, observing the life of the locals.” Additional Taos School highlights include Victor Higgins Lower Hondo-Spring (est. $60,000-$80,000), Leon Gaspard’s Festival of the Eagles (est. $60,000-$80,000), and Laverne Nelson Black’s Burros in Winter, Taos (est. $40,000-$60,000).
With a strong selection of Impressionism, three large-scale Birger Sandzens take the stage. Highlighting the trio, Lake at Sunset, Colorado, 1921 ranks among the artist’s most significant landscape paintings (est. $300,000-$400,000). Appearing at auction directly from a Midwestern institution and measuring a grand 80 x 60 inches, Sandzén’s masterwork firmly ranks the artist among the finest of America’s plein air painters.
Among the impressive grouping of California impressionist paintings are Maurice Braun’s large scale masterwork Autumn (est. $50,000-$70,000), Benjamin Brown’s Golden Poppies near Mount San Jacinto ( est. $25,000-$35,000) and Marion Wachtel’s Autumn, San Jancinto Canyon (est. $15,000-$25,000). Each of these delicately handled works convey the iconic beauty of the California landscape.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
- 1776, The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 4, 1931, by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (est. $60,000-$80,000).
- Thomas Hill’s large composition of Yosemite (est. $60,000-$80,000) a superb late 19th century depiction of the famed national park.
- Cyrus Edwin Dallin’s bronze, Appeal to the Great Spirit, 1913, a bronze from the Estate of Richard D. Bass, the first man to climb the “Seven Summits,” the tallest mountains on each continent (est. $50,000-$70,000).
- He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Playboy, 1965, one of several artworks by LeRoy Neiman to appear in the auction (est. $40,000-$60,000).
- Field Hand, circa 1924, by Thomas Hart Benton (est. $30,000-$50,000).
Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of approximately $900 million, and over 950,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.