A superb example of Jessie Willcox Smith's illustrations has sold as top lot in Heritage Auctions' Illustration Art Signature Auction in New York.
The October 13-14 sale saw the "breathtaking" painting sell above a line-up of Gil Elvgren's famous pin-ups, achieving $134,500 against a $100,000-150,000 estimate. Heritage Auctions described the work as the finest example of Willcox Smith's art it had ever offered.
The work, based on the children's tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, was first created for the 1915 Swift's Premium Soap Products calendar. It had resided in the same private family collection since 1941.
Also from Willcox Smith was her A Rainy Day, Dream Blocks, a 1908 work which sold for $74,500. The artwork was originally created for the book Dream Blocks by Aileen Higgins and is a classic mother and child image.
The current record for Smith's work is held by a 1905 illustration from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, which sold for $310,700 at Heritage Auctions in 2010.
A brilliant selection of Gil Elvgren's pin-up paintings dominated the rest of the auction's highest selling lots, with Quick Change leading at $110,500. The 1967 work was designed for the Brown and Bigelow calendar of the same year.
Also starring was Elvgren's iconic 1940 work Peek-A-View, which is one of the most famous and reproduced pin-up paintings of all time. Against a $60,00-80,000 estimate, the work climbed to $101,500, achieving a 26.8% increase.