And when we grew up, a child in us never ceases to live. Chuck Jones has afforded us the pleasure with his animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote.
Chuck Jones Early Wile E. Coyote Concept Sketch (Warner Brothers, 1950s). One of the very early developmental sketches that legendary animator Chuck Jones made of Wile E. Coyote, dating back to within a few years of the character’s creation, is expected to bring $10,000 and more as the lead lot of offerings from The Chuck Jones Archives, part of Heritage Auctions’ inaugural Animation Art Signature Auction, Feb. 21, at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (Ukrainian Institute of America), 2 East 79th Street (at 5th Avenue).
With more than 20 pieces that come directly from the hand of Chuck Jones himself, has been consigned by Jones’ family, the first time since the 1990s that the family has released any “new” work and that the pieces in the trove have ever been offered at public auction.
Wile E. Coyote drawing is one of the most important pieces of Chuck Jones artwork to ever be offered. While we can all look at this spectacular piece and see the character we all love so well, Jones did it as he was figuring out just who Wile E. Coyote was and what he looked like.
The Chuck Jones Archives also includes samples of his work with Dr. Seuss on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Horton Hears a Who,” his work at MGM on Tom and Jerry and his Academy Award-winning short “The Dot and the Line.”
Also one of the most interesting wrinkles in Jones’ career was a short lived daily comic strip title “Crawford,” which is represented in the auction with an original “Crawford” daily from May 2, 1978. It is expected to bring $5,000.
A rare Jones original watercolor painting of Pepe LePew not only presents the character in a decidedly fragrant light, contrary to his foibles in the cartoon, but also showcases the artist’s deep talent, seamlessly blending color, line and subject into a charming and transcendent painting. It is estimated at $20,000.
Of all the classic cartoons that Jones directed, it’s hard to imagine a more significant short than 1957’s “What’s Opera Doc,” voted the number one cartoon of all-time in Jerry Beck’s 1994 book “The 50 Greatest Cartoons.” The classic is represented in the auction by an exceedingly rare original production layout drawing of Elmer Fudd, in full Viking regalia, estimated at $5,000.
The legions of Bugs Bunny fans will find a tremendous amount to celebrate in the grouping, with numerous drawings and animation cels representing the famous rabbit, one of the most popular of which is sure to be an original hand-painted gag cel drawn by Jones showing Daffy Duck as a magician pulling Bugs out of his hat. The drawing, which is expected to bring $4,000, will be featured in the upcoming 2013 book “Chuck Jones: Drawing on Character 100 Classic Drawings by an American Icon.”