Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Moran in Martignette, lest you forget...

Aug. 11, 2009
Posted by Noah

Just in case you had finally started to get over the shivers and shakes that accompanied the abrupt stoppage of steady streams of illustration art news and images that were coming out of Heritage about a month ago with the kick-off of the Martignette Estate, never fear!

As we speak, Heritage experts are hard at work getting the next grouping of Martignette's amazing collection ready for auction this October, and you can bet there are a whole mess of absolute doozies!

Yes, there will be Elvgren and Vargas and Rockwell and Leyendecker and the parade of giants you might expect of this legendary collection, but there is also a whole host of great stuff from mid-tier artists, including a painting from Earl Moran, pictured above, that is - at least in my humble opinion - absolutely one of the most stunning paintings of any era or kind I have ever seen. Period.

I don't mean to call Moran a mid-tier artist, because he was a celebrity in his day, and his paintings were a staple of Brown & Bigelow and sold millions of copies. He was also very well loved by Hollywood celebrities, was trained by some of the best teachers of the day and, famously not only painted a young Norma Jean several times, was also a good friend of the doomed starlet. In fact, the future Marilyn Monroe said that Moran often made her look better than she actually did. That is, of course, impossible, but it's a nice thing for her to say...

This Moran painting, Evening Glow, is a singular masterpiece to be sure, and will likely well exceed its early estimate of $20,000-$25,000. It is simply pure genius. Moran's mastery of subject, form and color culminate in this superb painting. You would have to search very hard, very wide to find a comparable usage of color so in-depth, so evocative and so specific to the period from which it evolved. If I had the money it would be going home with me, no doubt...

Let this be a tease to you, then, and an anodyne to salve the hurt left by the gap between Illustration Art auctions. Never fear - and I say this more for myself than for anyone - more Martignette is on its way!

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-Noah Fleisher

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