Sep 25, 2003 - Sale 1977

Sale 1977 - Lot 116

Price Realized: $ 16,100
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
Diamond Lil - Mae West.
Pen and Ink on board. 14x18 inches, oblong. Signed lower right. 1949.
"Here's some more of that John Held Jr. two-dimensional woodcut feel. No doubt it was heresy to portray in a two-dimensional drawing a woman so endowed that the military named its inflatable lifejacket after her, but the rest of the show's Gilded Age setting lent itself to that style. Again, the important thing here is patterns. They tell the story. You've got hearts and flowers on the wallpaper, and the feather boa fringe on the broad-brimmed hat, the embroidery on the dress, the border on the petticoat. They really liked patterns in those days and had no fears of mixing and matching. All of these patterns combined, of course, describe pictorially the bigger-than-life buoyancy of Mae (with or without the lifejacket). The use of blacks and lines is also well realized. It's a very successful drawing, I think. Particularly the hands." HOL/81
Published in the new york times january 30, 1949.