Heritage Auctions is set to sell the world’s largest collection of American underground comix artwork.
The Eric Sack Collection features original cover art, illustrations and complete, multi-page stories by the likes of Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso and Art Spiegelman.
Acquired over the course of a lifetime, and having been exhibited in museums around the world, Sack’s collection is now heading to the auction block for the very first time in 40 years.
“I didn’t buy every single piece of art that came my way, but practically every single piece,” Sack said. “I was probably in my early 20s when I first acquired the original drawings in 1978. I noticed them taped on the back wall at a comic convention. My eye focused on them from 60 feet from the front door and I went and bought them.”
“I was fortunate to acquire a number of pieces from the original artists, and at the time I chose to purchase these pieces, many people were not buying the originals so was often quite surprising to the artist that I chose to own these original drawings.”
Sack’s collection has been referred to as the Sistine Chapel of Robert Crumb, due to the remarkable selection of works by the iconic counterculture artist.
“Robert Crumb is my favorite artist,” said Sack. “His style has that 30s and 40s softness that sometimes disarms you when you start to look at the subversive nature of the subject matter itself.”
Rare highlights from Crumb’s career include ‘Freak Out Funnies’, a complete two-page story from Zap Comix #0 published in 1968, estimated at $40,000; the original promotional poster art for the 1991 World According To Crumb exhibition in Paris, estimated at $30,000; and the unused cover art illustration for Head #1, published in 1971, estimated at $20,000.
Further major lots include Gilbert Shelton and Dave Sheridan’s 1975 original cover art for The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #4, estimated at $10,000; the original wraparound cover art for Rand Holmes’ 1973 book A History of Underground Comix, estimated at $20,000; and a rare 1989 Collaborative Jam comic strip by the entire roster of Zap Comix artists, estimated at $15,000.
The Eric Sack Collection – Masterpieces of Underground Art takes place at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills on November 17-19.