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Lichtenstein piece sold for $43M, comic that inspired it? $431

Last week I posted news about a Roy Lichtenstein painting had sold at auction for $43 million. Jeff Darcy (in the comments) noted the original comic art upon which the Pop Art painting was based was recently sold on eBay for “a few hundred bucks.” Turns out it was $431 to be exact.

Here’s a piece in Art Info on the contrast between the two art pieces:

Barsalou has his own auction story to tell, in fact, tying the frayed thread between Overgard and Lichtenstein. Last August, the cartoon aficionado found the original Overgard panel on eBay and outdueled four other remote bidders to snag the prize for $431. Overgard had donated his 3,000-plus cartoon archive to the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University, but that panel is not part of that protected trove.

“To me,” said Barsalou, “it was the steal of the century.”

Steal of the century indeed.

Steve Roper by Allen Saunders and William Overgard)

Community Comments

#1 Matt Forcum
@ 9:40 am

Well, if comics were a REAL art form…

#2 Jason Nocera
@ 9:42 am

Rumor has it, he also has a basement full of Cambell’s soup cans.

#3 Mark Haldane
@ 10:16 am

The funny thing is, beyond everything else, that the painting is just terrible compared to the original artwork.

#4 Lucas Turnbloom
@ 10:53 am

@Mark: That’s the case with most of his reproductions, IMO.

#5 Steve Skelton
@ 11:18 am

This might qualify as the most ridiculous thing I have ever witnessed.

#6 Jeff Darcy
@ 1:15 pm

I was one of the 4 bidders on that. I couldn’t remember the
exact price it sold for when I wrote the comment. But I do
remember disbelief and amazement that such an iconic comic
strip was being sold on ebay with such a low starting bid price.
So much so that I wondered if it might be a copy, even though
the seller appeared legit. That influenced my bid and willingness to bid further…that and having to make my mortgage payment.

If my memory is correct it was one of a number of comic strips
Overgard panels the seller had listed.

#7 Andrew Farago
@ 1:20 pm

$431 was a steal. Based on its connection to the Lichtenstein work, I’d bet the owner could turn around and get five-to-ten times that amount if he were to auction it off to fine art collectors.

#8 Gerry Mooney
@ 4:20 pm

Except for the way the word balloon tangents the peephole cover, everything about the original panel is better-designed and more solid-feeling than the Lichtenstein

#9 Jeff Darcy
@ 5:52 pm

If that had been put up for sale at a trad. auction house and advertised,
it would have gone for a lot more than $431 but still well under
43 million.
The starting bid on that was really low. Maybe $100-200
If it was a trad auction house that starting/opening bid may have been
around $500 to $1000
I had just happened upon it while doing a search of the seller items knowing he had sold editorial cartoons before, and
was the only bidder for a number of days.
The fact that it only had 4 bids shows that it was kinda buried
away so much so that even regular ebay cartoon art
buyers didn’t even know it was listed.

I’ll be watching to see if the seller lists the Mona Lisa next

#10 David Barsalou MFA
@ 11:28 am

Steve Roper by William Overgard August 6,1961
Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein ? © 2000
David Barsalou MFA

#11 Rich Diesslin
@ 9:20 pm

Why isn’t this copyright infringement?

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