I had the pleasure of a fortunate accident in my visit to the Jones family archive today, with a very important find, that made me think of you. The attached is a very rare work of Chuck Jones art, for a number of reasons, but most historically as it created one of his hand painted limited editions we published in the '90's. I know many of your collectors were able to acquire this edition before it sold out years ago.
The lineage of the limited edition final lines is extraordinarily interesting in the circles of his artwork. I know as a historian yourself, much of this is redundant, but there a few facts here you may not have known.
In 1977, Chuck made animation artwork history by creating the very first hand-painted, limited edition cel: The Duck Dodgers Group.
Chuck would create several pencil drawings from roughs, to a final tight drawing that would be transferred to the cel acetates via xerography. The head of the WB art department told Linda and Chuck they must observe the centuries old rule of destroying the originals that created the editions--thus "breaking the mold", and Linda as a pioneer wanting to do it correctly, followed this "law" and I am sorry to say that most of the earlier graphite lines were lost.
In the late 80's Chuck and Linda began to prefer the look of the serigraphic line from a drawing to that of Xerox line. Chuck suggested they could get a better reproduction of his line if he used ink to created them, especially since he could create these lines with a paintbrush, and include more subtle and painterly characteristics. This was the birth of his line paintings. While this was a way Chuck preferred to work, it had a few disadvantages. Whereas his drawings could be completed usually, in well under an hour, the ink paintings would take days to complete and dry. There was a convenience and freedom he had with the ability to take his pencil and drawing pad just about anywhere he wanted to draw, however, he was limited to his studio easel for his brush work, thus the number of these paintings was not used as much as the pencil; again making these works unknown by many collectors.
One of my favorite characteristics of this work, is another piece of WB history repeating itself with a nonsensical executive decision. The original cel text had the gag with "occlusion", however, WB thought it may go over the head of collectors, so on the transfer to the acetate model, the dropped the "big word" and instead went with "Bad Bite" which became the title! I also noticed that Chuck has signed this piece--very unusual since it would have to be removed so not to interfere with his cel signature.
Ink paintings have rated third tier in importance of his artwork among collectors following only behind his oil paintings which have exceeded $200,000, and his watercolor paintings in the $20,000 -$40,000 range. While I recall one of his surviving lines: The Western Group (1980) (that he chose to "destroy" by splashing paint on it) that went for nearly $30,000, most of his original Ink lines for limited editions average about $10,000.
This piece has not been offered--or even shown out of the archives-and these generally are released only on a very rare occasion to the family owned galleries. Due to your company's patronage, however, we thought you might like to thank and congratulate one of your special collectors and allow them to add this to their collection.
I'll follow up with the particulars after it has been properly processed.
Have a good evening. --Scott