Jul 16, 2020 - Sale 2541

Sale 2541 - Lot 37

Price Realized: $ 3,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
"The Hare and the Tortoise and The Tortoise and the Hare." Together, group of 27 illustrations on 24 sheets for book jacket, half title page, and pages 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 24-25, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 37, 38, 41, 42, 45, and 48 of book of the same name by William Pène du Bois and Lee Po (New York: Doubleday, 1972). Mixed media, including pen, ink, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper. Image sizes vary; most are approximately 140x193 mm; 5 1/2x7 1/2 inches, with most sheets measuring 6 1/4x8 1/4 inches. Most signed "William Pène du Bois." Some mounted to board and matted. See condition report for complete image set.

This lot features a selection of illustrations for a re-imagining of Aesop's classic fable. The first story, written by Pène du Bois, adopts the traditional narrative of the arrogant hare competing against the tortoise, who, not content with being dull and reliable, is surprisingly adventurous in her efforts to cross the finish line. In the second story, Lee Po reverses the narrative by casting the tortoise as sly and villainous in his attempts to entrap the hare. Pène du Bois' artwork enlivens the classic tale, especially with his psychedelic 1970s depictions of the tortoise's undersea realm.

Pène du Bois' whimsical illustrations and beloved cast of characters made serious themes accessible and engaging for children. The American author and illustrator is among a select few who have been presented with both a Newbery Medal (for The Twenty-One Balloons, 1947) and Caldecott Honors (for Bear Party, 1951 and Lion, 1956). As both artist and author, Pène du Bois captivated generations of readers with his unique combination of humor and imagination.