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Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
GEORGE J. ZAFFO (1916-1984) "The Big Book Of Real Fire Engines." Complete set of book story boards.
Complete group of 15 original story board illustrations for the book written and illustrated by Zaffo (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1950). Watercolor on board. Image sizes vary slightly by height, the smallest measuring approximately 260x483 mm; 10 1/4x19 inches, the larger ones at 343x483 mm; 13 1/2x19 inches, all on slightly larger boards. All signed "Zaffo" in different locations. A copy of the book accompanies the artwork.
Zaffo was a superbly talented writer, illustrator, and designer of children's books, with an output of over 95 titles over his career. He was an equally skilled technical artist and commercial craftsman, committed to accuracy, detail, and realism allowed his to stand out among other picture books.
An anecdote Zaffo told in print interviews and confirmed by his family supports his talent: Zaffo, who studied under Norman Rockwell for a year, bet his mentor that one day he would fool him with a watercolor version of a Rockwell oil and that the famous illustrator would not know which was which. Zaffo won the bet, and Rockwell both conceded and signed the work. That signed painting remains a proud possession in Zaffo's family.
The bright and precise details in these images were painstakingly rendered as were those for similarly designed titles featuring machines and modes of transportation including Big Book of Real Building and Wrecking Machines, The Big Book Of Real Trains, The Big Book of Real Trucks. Their popularity led First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to acquire two of his titles for the White House children's library.