Auction Results | All | Posters

Original E.T movie poster artwork brings $400,000 at Heritage

The original movie poster artwork for E.T has smashed its estimate at auction to sell for almost $400,000.
The iconic poster was created by artist John Alvin, who also created posters for classic movies including Blade Runner, Gremlins, The Goonies, Aladdin and The Lion King.

The image of two fingers touching had been inspired by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, with Alvin using his own daughter as a hand model.

The poster was originally used in 1982 to advertise the release of Steven Spielberg’s classic, without revealing to audiences what E.T actually looked like.

The artwork was then used extensively for 35 years to promote the film, which is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time with a worldwide box-office of $793 million.

The painting was consigned to the sale by Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson, who had acquired it 13 years ago and given it pride of place on his office wall.

"Every time my son’s or daughter’s friends would see the painting they’d stand in front of it with their fingers touching in the same way," recalled Bendetson.

Offered for the first time at auction with an initial estimate of $150,000, competitive bidding quickly pushed the painting up to a final price of $394,000.

"The compelling image of E.T.’s finger touching a child’s with the Earth below perfectly captured the awe and wonderment of this movie that was nominated for nine Oscars," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions.

"It’s incredible that the original art for the poster has survived this long in absolutely mint condition – but that only speaks to the love the owners have given the painting over the decades."

Another standout lot was a painting by celebrated artist Frank Frazetta, "the master of modern fantasy art". Originally created for the cover of Time War, a 1974 paperback novel by Lin Carter, the painting had spent decades as part of the collection of the Frank Frazetta Museum, and sold for $346,000.

Further highlights included vintage pinup paintings by masters of the genre Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren; an original New Yorker Magazine cover artwork by iconic comic book artist Robert Crumb; paintings by LeRoy Neiman; and original pulp crime magazine cover artwork by Norman Saunders.

Just Collecting