The Arthur Bernhard Western Pulp Art Collection

Western “pulp” art began with the dime novels of the late 1800s – tales of lurid and exciting exploits of rough heroes, dastardly villains and buxom damsels, with illustrations designed to capture the action of the story and the attention of the public. The era of American western illustration art had begun. By the mid-20th century, pulp paperbacks and magazines were the rage, and every book was judged by its cover, which held the promise of the excitement to be found inside. Arthur Bernhard was an Arizona publisher of mid-century pulp paperbacks, but he was also a collector. When hiring artists to illustrate the covers, Bernhard negotiated deals so that he got to keep the original art from which the covers were taken. Descended through his family, the pieces that follow are some of the original works he collected.    

Bernhard's lots: 69 - 76

Lot 73 - Fred Rodewald (1905 - 1955) Sold $354

Lot 73 - Fred Rodewald (1905 - 1955)
Sold $354

The Pulp Collection of Publisher Arthur Bernhard

A strong offering pulp pieces are crossing the auction block from the estate of publisher, Arthur Bernhard, who collected the original art from the paperback covers he commissioned. Here's a few of our favorites:

Lot 137: Pulp Art Painting
Untitled: Cowboy Shooting a Maxim or Vickers Water-Cooled Machine Gun with a Damsel at his Feet
Acrylic on board
30" x 20"
Unsigned
Framed to 35" x 25"
Provenance: From the Arthur Bernhard collection.
Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction - January 23, 2016
Sold  $708

Lot 138: Pulp Art Painting
Untitled: Cowboy Defending his Wagon
Oil on board
18" x 12"
Unsigned
Framed to 24" x 18"
Provenance: From the Arthur Bernhard collection.
Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction - January 23, 2016
Sold $354

Lot 140: Pulp Art Painting
Buckskin Scout
Oil on canvas
24" x 13 3/4" 
Unsigned
Framed to 29" x 18 14"
Provenance: From the Arthur Bernhard collection.
Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction - January 23, 2016
Sold $236

Charlie Russell Illustrated Letter to Harry Carey

C.M. Russell's Cowboys Dig up the Booze

Charles Marion Russell (1864 - 1926)
"Friend Carey"
10" x 6 1/2"
Mixed media on paper
Illustrated, signed and dated Feb 25 1921 
To Henry DeWitt “Harry” Carey


Accompanied by an illustration of reveling cowboys with a shovel:

"Friend Carey
           Last year when I eat at the HC wagon you whispered to me that thair was som buried treasures on your ranch that wasent no cash of the Old Spanish Bandits  But a plant of your own in days when corn and rye juice could be got for one dollor a quart you were foxy and buried when you couldent swallow but not having the nose of the fox you couldent locate the cash   In these days of drouth there were times when it got on your nurvs.  You told me you were going to organize a small band of trusted booze hounds and go prospecting    I hope you raised the cash   we got your note and was glad to hear from you
    with best whishes to you and yours from me and mine
                         Your friend
                                 C M Russell"

PICTURED:  Brian W. Dippie, “Charles M. Russell, Word Painter: Letters 1887-1926,”  1993, pg 306; Charles M. Russell, “Good Medicine, Memories of the Real West,” 1929, pg 129.       PROVENANCE: Carey Family Trust

"What makes for a great Charlie Russell letter?  A sketch that expresses sentiment or humor. and a corresponding text. This short letter to Harry Carey is a jewel––an extended joke about Carey's dilemma trying to find a cache of booze he had hidden on his ranch prior to Prohibition. He had forgotten to mark the spot, and a year after America went dry was getting mighty thirsty.  Charlie's letter takes off from that set-up.  Its joshing attests to the warm friendship that had sprung up between the Russells and the Careys after Charlie and Nancy made their first excursion to Southern California in 1920." 
           -- Brian W. Dippie, November 2014

Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction, Jan 24, 2015
SOLD $126,500

Richard Amsel Original Artwork for John Wayne's Final Film

Richard Amsel Original Art for "The Shootist" Movie Poster

Original artwork for the poster for "The Shootist"
30" x 21"
mixed media on paper
Framed to 41" x 32"

"The Shootist" Finished Poster

A remarkable example of American illustration, Richard Amsel utilized his unique illustrative style in a combination of watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, and gouache to create this iconic movie poster. "The Shootist" (1976) was John Wayne's last film and is based on the 1975 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout. It is the story of a dying gunfighter who spends his last days looking for a way to die with the least pain and the most dignity. The film also stars Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart, Richard Boone, Hugh O'Brian and  Sheree North, all of whom are depicted in Amsel's artwork.

Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction, Jan 24, 2015
SOLD $18,400


Also at auction is an original "The Shootist" poster, mounted on canvas,
41" x 27 12" - Estimate: $350 - 450