Original Little House On The Prairie Art Up For Auction
Many of us grew up with the much beloved Little House on the Prairie book by Laura Ingalls WIlder. The cover art used starting in the 1950s and continuing up to present day, a soft-pencil drawing of the Ingalls family in a covered wagon by illustrator Garth Williams will be part of Heritage Auctions' February 11 Signature® Illustration Art Auction in Beverly Hills. This piece is expected to bring in over $8,000 and joins 99 other Little House drawings, spread across 30 lots, in the auction.
Williams' scenes of the close-knit frontier family replaced the extremely stylized versions by Helen Sewell that had been used since the 1930s. "So many of us saw America's heartland through the eyes of Garth Williams, through these exact drawings," said Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations of Comics & Comic Art at Heritage, "and the cover is the most famous of them all. With his wonderful soft-pencil art, Williams conveyed the majesty of the prairie, but also the warmth of a family that had to stick together through all of its hardships." Sandoval goes on to say that Williams went on a six-month trip to research his drawings, meeting with Wilder in Mansfield, Missouri and also visiting other states where the Wilder family lived.
Last year, Heritage sold the original cover art, plus 41 interior drawings, from Charlotte's Web, also illustrated by Williams. The cover art sold for $155,350 more than five times the pre-sale estimate and a world's record for any of Williams' art.
Additional items from the Garth Williams Estate will also be featured in the upcoming April 7-9 Signature Rare Books Auction in New York including original pencil sketches and ink drawings, dust jacket art, character studies, and other preliminary artwork from Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Rabbits' Wedding.
UPDATE: The cover art for the Little House on the Prairie book sold for an impressive $50,787.50. William's Page 1 illustration from E.B. White's Stuart Little, The Arrival of Stuart Little brought in $65,725, far above its $5,000+ pre-auction estimate.