Carl Barks, master of comic book storytelling and creator of Uncle Scrooge, is being spotlighted in a June 4 auction in Los Angeles. Diverse works are being offered, including a final painting of the Disney ducks with an estimated value of as much as $200,000. More modestly-valued pieces will also be available. Public previews will be offered June 1-3. Follow this link to a press release for the auction.
Auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields describe their June 4th 2007 Entertainment Memorabilia and Animation Art sale in Los Angeles as a celebration for Carl Barks – the artist who for decades drew famous Disney comic book characters. The international fine arts auctioneers will feature property from the Estate of Carl Barks this summer including original animation drawings, working storyboards and watercolors from his personal archive.
From the early 1940s until the late 1960s, Carl Barks illustrated Walt Disney’s comics and stories and drew the beloved “Donald Duck” character as well as “Huey, Duey and Louie” (adding his own creation “Uncle Scrooge” in 1948). Having never signed his name to a single Donald Duck story, Barks received no biographical notes in any of the Disney comic books (unlike artists of comic book publishers of the 1950s). Barks toiled in privacy for more than 25 years before fans of comics and animation sought him out.
Like other great American creative giants such as George Herriman (Krazy Kat), Charles Schultz (Peanuts) and Bob Montana (Archie comics), Carl Barks was a story teller first and an artist second. Not unlike Herriman, Schultz and Montana, Barks controlled all aspects of his comic books from the story-board concepts for ideas, to the pencils, to the final inks – and for a short period of time the lettering as well (until his third wife Gare Barks took over the task).
Barks is known around the globe as a genuine American folk-artist, and according to some, the most famous American comic book artist of all time. After dozens of hardcover published reprints, biographies, historical studies and color books about his paintings, he’s now considered to be one of Disney’s all-time great animators.
Of particular interest on June 4 is a rare and highly sought after Carl Barks “money bin” painting entitled Hands Off My Playthings (chronological number 106) featuring Huey, Duey and Louie making a castle out of thousand dollar bills and gold coins while Donald admires himself while donning a crown and Scrooge throws a fit in the background. Dated 1975, the highly recognizable oil on masonite work is signed in the lower left and estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. Barks commented publicly that this was his favorite “money bin” painting — according to the auctioneers, it is one of the most compelling examples of Barks’ painting ever brought to public auction.
Featured highlights from the Estate of Carl Barks include: a large collection of preliminary drawings for many of his more famous Walt Disney Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge paintings (offered individually, estimates from $600 to $2,000); an unfinished painting of A Saloon Woman In A White Dress (est. $5/8,000); a selection of early paintings from Barks’ private studio including landscapes and historical portraits; a selection of framed and signed gold plate artist’s proofs; unpublished circa 1940s pencil cartoons; early finished watercolors; and a collection of five caricature cartoon drawings done by colleagues of Carl Barks while he was working at the Disney Studios.
Strong collector interest is expected for the original conceptual drawings and preliminary color works with enthusiasts vying for Barks’ working easel used by him for over 35 years, as well as his personal manuscripts for Donald Duck and Scrooge stories. The sale includes cover designs for some of his most famous comic book covers and file copies of comic books certified by C.G.C. Comics LLC with Barks’ personal cover stamp.
Highlights from the June auction’s Memorabilia section should interest collectors as well, including: a Marilyn Monroe archive featuring a set of never-before-seen honeymoon photographs featuring her then-new husband Joe DiMaggio; a set of handwritten notes for the 1957 romantic comedy The Prince And The Showgirl; Monroe’s Screen Actors Guild I.D. card; an Elvis Presley personal 1970s-era checkbook; a collection from the Palm Desert, California residence of William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd; a black wool coat worn by Spencer Tracy in the first scene of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde; and a selection of classic and modern cinematic posters from the collection of noted educator and collector Louis Leithold – all to be offered without reserve (see related press release).
Los Angeles public preview events are scheduled for June 1-3.