Dr. Seuss

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Original Artwork

R. Michelson Galleries is extremely proud to exhibit original artwork by Theodor Geisel (Dr.Seuss) in addition to the Limited Edition pieces published by his estate. Below is some of Dr. Seuss’ original artwork available at R. Michelson Galleries.

You’re Only Old Once!

A Book for Obsolete Children

Original Cover Study from the Collection of Maurice Sendak

Pictured below is an original cover study for Dr. Seuss’ best-selling book You’re Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children which was #1 on the NY Times list in 1986, and remained on the list for over 60 weeks; it remains one of the best-selling books of all time. This was one of only two Seuss picture books for adults (the other is his first book, The Seven Lady Godivas, in 1939).

This cover study was previously owned by Maurice Sendak, who got it directly from Audrey Geisel in 1995. As far as we are aware this is the only original Seuss book illustration work that remained in private hands and is currently for sale. Sendak was likely the only person to whom Audrey Geisel would have parted with an original drawing. She actually sent Sendak two to choose from, and not surprisingly, he ended up keeping both, although once has since sold.


Ted and Helen Geisel met Frank Vanderlip and his family through their friend Hugh Troy. They were soon included in the Vanderlip parties at the Vanderlip town house at 115 East Fifty-fourth Street and their fifty acre estate, Beechwood, in the Hudson Valley at Scarborough. Frank Vanderlip was president of National City Bank and was one of New York’s most powerful men. The Geisels were contemporaries of the six Vanderlip children and were especially close to Kelvin and Virginia. The Book Bartholomew and the Oobleck was dedicated to Kelvin and Virginia’s son, Frank Jr.

During WWII, Geisel served as an officer in the Information and Education Division, and found himself in Washington D.C. Vanderlip ran into Geisel at the Pentagon in 1944-45 and invited his old friend to come to his home for dinner.

When Vanderlip’s step-son Sheridan found out who Ted Geisel really was, he asked him to draw him a picture. The dog Geisel drew for the boy was a dachshund – a symbol he had often used to portray the Germans in his political cartoons. The Vanderlip family also had a dachshund, Fritz, as a pet.

Geisel started the drawing at the dog’s tail and worked up to the middle and then added the wheel and then the bee and then ended with the ears. The drawing was signed “Dr. Seuss” and he added his army service number.

Kelvin Vanderlip had homes in California and Washington D.C. After WWII, Geisel worked on his art in the Vanderlip home in Palos Verdes Estates in California. The Vanderlips and the Geisels had a long friendship.

Watch This Space

In 1948 cartoonist Mickey Bach hung a canvas on his wall with the words “Watch This Space!” on it. The result was this collaborative painting with contributions by seven well known artists, mostly cartoonists and all Bach’s friends: Dr. Seuss, Jefferson Machamer, Earl Moran, Andrew Loomis, Clifford McBride, Henry Clive, and Randy Tamlar.


Gentlemen Riding

This humorous original watercolor illustration inscribed to a friend and fellow artist depicts mustachioed riders in red coats and top hats leaping a set of chairs on a lawn outside an antique shop. The California painter Phil dike (1906-1990) and Geisel met at the Art Students League of New York in the 1920’s and remained lifelong friends. The present illustration was given to Dike during those Art Students League days. This image dates to c. 1928 and it is inscribed in pencil lower right “Phil – Submitted in controversy – Theodor.” It has been laid down on board.

Drawing for Woody Dike

This piece was drawn for Woody Dike, son of Geisel’s friend Phil Dike (1906-1990). Phil Dike and Geisel met at the Art Students League of New York in the 1920’s and remained lifelong friends. Dike was born and raised in Southern California and was one of the first artists to develop what became known as the California Style of watercolor painting. By 1935, Dike was working at the Walt Disney Studios where he taught art and color theory while working on animated films. Among the many classic films he worked on were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia and The Three Caballeros. In 1938, Dike served as president of the California Water Color Society.