Stranger than fiction: weird and wonderful Pulp art auctions at Heritage

Here's a quick reminder that over the next two days, Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas will play host to the biggest sale of illustrative art so far this year.

An impressive collection of illustrative work, touching on early 20th century Pulp fiction right through to advertising imagery is on offer.

And with online bids from collectors already impressing, the signs are looking very promising for the sale.

Much of the sale will focus on Pulp fiction literature. This was famous for its cheap paper design, exploitative stories and most importantly sensational cover art.

Gil Elvgren's "A Fast Takeoff"

With online bidding available in the days leading up to the sale, many pieces have already achieved significant prices and have yet to reach the auction block.

The highlights of bidding so far has included Pulp fiction from illustrator Margaret Brundage.

She was most famous for illustrating the cult Pulp magazine "Weird Tales."

Using predominately pastels on illustration board, the majority of her iconic covers for the magazine were created during the height of the publications popularity from 1933 to 1938.

On offer at this week's sale is the cover scene from the eerie tale "A Rival from the Grave."

The image is regarded by collectors as one of her most famous and equally most rare covers.  

Coming from a January 1936 issue and signed by the artist herself, the illustration currently carries a bid of $30,000, which is sure to rise at auction.

The sale also offers illustrations from American painter Gil Elvgren. The artist was known primarily for his work with advertising firm Brown and Bigelow which focused on illustrative images of female pin ups and glamour models of the era.

Hugh Joseph Ward's
"The Evil Flame"

Working mainly from the 1930s to the 1970s, Elvgren gained a reputation as a master of capturing the all American feminine ideal.

One 1954 produced image from the sale, entitled "A Fast Takeoff" is currently bidding at $37,500.

The current Heritage auction record for an Elvgren image stands at $191,200. This figure was set back in May 2010, for the 1962 produced image "Bear Facts."  

Yet the current leading bid at the illustrative art sale again comes from the world of Pulp fiction.

A 28.5 x 19.5 inch oil on canvas by Pulp artist Hugh Joseph Ward leads the way. Entitled "The Evil Flame, Spicy Mystery Stories," the cover was first published in August 1936 at the height of Ward's illustrative fame.

Combining violence and sexual tension, the iconic image typifies much of what appealed about the genre at the time.

Online bids for the piece have already reached $40,000.

However, with a total of 751 lots up for auction, there's every chance that this week could see world record prices for illustrative art.


Join our readers in 190 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock