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A popularity surge in illustration

A popularity surge in illustration

Illustration as an art form is undergoing something of a resurgence in popularity, particularly with young collectors looking for original, affordable artworks as an alternative to posters and edition prints. Illustrations produced during ‘the golden age of illustration’ between 1890 and 1940 are undergoing a spike in interest, now doubling and tripling their estimates at auction. Norman Rockwell’s recent sale at Sotheby’s, Saying Grace, realised $46m, smashing the estimate of $15m. This figure is made even more remarkable considering the artist received just $3,500 for the painting when it appeared on the cover of the thanksgiving issue of The Saturday Evening Post in 1951. Key names to look out for include Gil Elvgren, Steven Dowanos and Jessie Willcox Smith.

Other projects founded to support the medium are also on the rise, including independent arts charity House of Illustration which was set up by a group of illustrators dedicated to promoting illustration. The organisation is in the midst of fundraising for the world’s first gallery and education space devoted solely to the illustration art form, which will open in 2014 in the King’s Cross cultural hub.

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