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2023 Summer Fine Art & Antiques (Day 1)

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 132

George E. Hughes O/B Saturday Evening Post Cover Art Illustration, Couples at the Beach

Estimate: $18,000 - $22,000
Sold for
Sold Price includes BP

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$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

George E. Hughes (Vermont/New York, 1907-1990) oil on board illustration painting for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, August 2, 1952 edition, titled "Couples at the Beach," featuring a bird's eye view of beachgoers of various ages, enjoying a sunny day under colorful umbrellas. Signed "Hughes" lower left corner. Housed in a painted wooden frame. Sight: 29 5/8" H x 23 3/4" W. Framed: 34 1/4" H x 28 1/2" W. Note: The editorial for the Aug. 2, 1952 edition stated the following about this cover illustration: "In the winter, people buy sun lamps to get sun, and in the summer they buy beach umbrellas to keep the sun off. But these are carefree vacation days, let's not worry about this, or indeed anything else - except maybe whether that creeping baby plans to bite the dog. (We just phoned Artist Hughes to inquire about that, but nobody answered, so probably he's lying on this beach himself, too modest to move into the picture.) Well, have a wonderful time, folks; build your sand castles and your dream castles; let the cool winds and the hot dogs renew you; and don't even let annoyment creep in if that boy's radio prevents your hearing the sweet nothings he whispers to his girl. Now turn the page, before the kids start throwing sand." Artist biography: Raised in New York City, the young George Hughes attended courses in the National Academy of Design and the Art Student's League. He began working as a freelance illustrator for the fashion industry in Vanity Fair and House and Garden magazines. After a stint in Detroit working in the automotive industry, Hughes returned to the city to work for the Charles E. Cooper Studio until his discovery in 1942 by Ken Stuart, the Art Director of The Saturday Evening Post. He moved his family to Arlington, Vermont, and found great success, cultivating a rich portfolio of illustrations for the Post alongside a neighbor, friend, and humorous artistic tormentor, Norman Rockwell. Other than Rockwell, Hughes was the most prolific artist for the Post, and his illustrations were included in other publications such as Reader's Digest and Good Housekeeping. (adapted from "George Hughes", THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, October 29, 2014)


Painting has been lightly cleaned using natural solvents only; no further cleaning measures have been taken. Areas of retouching to upper right corner, green umbrella, hair and neck of figure eating the hotdog, and largest area to upper right quadrant measuring 1/8" x 5 1/2".

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