I became interested in American Illustration art way before it became outrageously popular. I remember an auction of illustration art that was held at the 67th Street Armory in New York City, in the mid 1980s. I attended the exhibition and saw quite a few paintings that I liked and would try to buy. The auction itself was a bit surreal. There was so little interest in the paintings that I only had to put my arm up once to bid and it was mine. Nobody bid against me on almost all the items. If only I had the money and the nerve to buy so much more. American Illustration Art took off like a rocket shortly afterward. Prices accelerated into the hundreds of thousands and even into the millions for the best of the best, such as for paintings by Norman Rockwell or Maxfield Parrish.
While standing on line to pay for and pick up my purchases, a collector friend of mine, Charlie Schalebaum, approached me and asked if I would sell one of the paintings that I had just bought. It was a wonderful baseball painting of a hitter sliding into home plate, probably from the 1920s or 1930s. Fabulous subject matter. I had paid a few hundred dollars and sold it to him for a very small profit. I wish I stilled owned it. It would be hanging on the walls in my home.
I’ll post another day about the amazing collection of Charles Martignette.
Please visit chasenantiques.com.
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