The name’s McGinnis. Robert McGinnis. A name which may not be as immediately familiar as James Bond, but if you love all things 007 you will have admired his work at some point.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Tom Derbyshire
McGinnis (b.1926) is a prolific American artist who has illustrated many posters and paperback novels, along with artwork for hundreds of magazines.
He is particularly associated with James Bond and among the more than 40 film posters he painted the artwork for are Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever and Live and Let Die.
While 007 film posters come up for auction relatively frequently and the most sought after early examples in good condition, such as Dr No, can make five figures, original artwork is much rarer.
When McGinnis’ gouache on paper design for You Only Live Twice came up for auction at Bonhams in Los Angeles on May 14 it was always likely to cause a stir and ended up selling for a hammer price of $65,000 (£50,390) to a US private buyer bidding on the phone, against an estimate of $20,000-30,000.
Signed to the lower right, it is unlikely to be approved in the MeToo climate: featuring Sean Connery surrounded by a bevy of bikini-clad women. The painting, measuring 18.5 x 2ft 3in (47 x 69cm) overall, appeared on the style C posters and soundtrack album for the 1967 film.
When McGinnis was commissioned by United Artists to create this painting for the poster he was put on a strict deadline. In his hurry, he forgot to sign the piece. He was finally able to sign it in 1995 when it was brought to his Connecticut studio.
Hunchback Lon Chaney lopes in
Another poster highlight of the May 14 sale – also offered from the The WE ‘Wes’ Shank Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Memorabilia – hailed from an earlier era of film making.
A US one sheet poster for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was released by Universal Pictures in 1923, sold for a hammer price of $170,000 (£131,780) to a different private US buyer to the 007 artwork. Unrestored and measuring 2ft 3in x 3ft 5in (69 x 1.04m) not including the frame, it had been estimated at $150,000-200,000.
The character of Quasimodo in Victor Hugo’s story was well-suited to the chameleon-like actor, Lon Chaney, whose artistry with make-up and ability to play deformed or disfigured characters were without parallel. Directed by Wallace Worsley and produced by Irving Thalberg, the production was particularly lush, with expensive sets and thousands of extras.
The movie secured Chaney’s status as a top-tier film star, raking in $3.5m and propelling him to bigger and more complicated roles.
At a Heritage sale in November 2014, a poster for the Chaney film After Midnight, a tale of murder, detectives, vampires and hypnotists, became the most expensive sold at auction at that time.
The only known copy of the US release one-sheet from the film was sold for $478,000 (then about £318,665 given the exchange rate), against hopes of over $40,000.