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Sale 2440 Lot 93
"The Worsted Monster. A Medieval Tale by Edward Gorey." Cover art for an unrealized work, likely a presentation piece for an unidentified publisher in New York, circa 1950. Ink, watercolor, and color dyes with collage on paper. 285x482 mm; 11 1/2x19 inches. Not signed. Cornered to foamboard matte.
Estimate $8,000 - 12,000
an exceptional, early piece of original art by edward gorey for an unrealized publication. This illustration was recently featured as an example of Gorey's early creative output in the exhibition "Artifacts from the Archives" at the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, MA, April 15, 2016 to December 18, 2016. The show highlighted obscure works by Gorey brought to light and contextualize his creative oeuvre. The work has been dated by the Gorey Charitable Trust and the Edward Gorey House to the early 1950s. In 1953, Gorey published his first book, The Unstrung Harp; Or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel. The style of Mr. Earbrass resembles the men in this image, with their oblong faces and protruding noses and was a style he only occasionally incorporated into his figures thereafter. He did notably use the character style again for his series of holiday cards in the 1970s (see lot 102). That same year he began working full-time as an illustrator for the newly developed Anchor Books, the modern classics paperback division of Doubleday, a position that brought Gorey's artwork to a wider public but left him little time for side projects.
The dragon "monster" and five of the figures in this amusing cover illustration are brightly colored and the title is a collage piece added to the upper right corner of the work. It is written upon a long, twisted scroll executed with great detail, and bears characteristic shading and lettering that would appear in his future work.