Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    THE COLLECTION OF PAUL GREGORY AND JANET GAYNOR

    AL HIRSCHFELD (American, 1903-2003)
    Charles Laughton, Half Man, Half Devil, 1952
    Pen, ink and wash on illustration board
    12-1/2 x 9 inches (31.8 x 22.9 cm)
    Signed lower right: Hirschfeld
    Stamped on verso of board: POSTED MAR 29 1952 EDITORIAL AUDITING DEPARTMENT

    PROVENANCE:
    Gift from the artist to Paul Gregory.

    This drawing references Paul Gregory's celebrated production of Don Juan in Hell with Charles Laughton in the role of the Devil, for which he delivered a magnificent performance. Paul Gregory recalls that when he met with playwright George Bernard Shaw at his country estate in England to discuss the play, Shaw was against the casting of Charles Laughton in the role of the Devil. Shaw didn't like Laughton because he felt he was a traitor for leaving his native England during the war. He also believed that Laughton was too overstated as an actor. Paul Gregory agreed with this in part: "He was grossly big, but under that grossness was a fabric of tenderness and sensitivity" (see James Lester Johnson, The Art of Paul Gregory: An Examination of Gregory's Historic, Aesthetic, and Pedagogic Contributions to Interpretation and Theatre, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1981, p. 51).

    Following his meeting with Shaw, Paul Gregory returned to London to talk with Laughton: "I was with [him] at Great Fosters, Henry VIIl's hunting lodge that had been made into a hotel. We were sitting there and Laughton had a big brandy in his hand, and he said: 'Paul, who do you think we ought to get to play the Devil?' I looked at him and I said: 'You're playing the Devil.' He said: 'No I'm not, I'm playing Don Juan.' I said, 'No Charles, you're not playing Don Juan.' He said: 'Well, who is?' I said: 'Boyer, I've already signed him.' He jumped up and threw down his glass and said: 'Jesus Christ, I've always been relegated to play the sonofabitch, and here was my one chance to play Don Juan.' He went into a tirade and told me to get out of his room. It was the worst thing I'd ever seen the man do. At midnight there was a knock at my door; it was Laughton. He said: 'Paul, you're right and I'm wrong.' From that time on there was no question. The show would have flopped if Laughton had played Don Juan."



    Condition Report*: Framed under glass to an overall size of 20.5 x 16.25 inches. The illustration board proper has been taped to cardboard to make it fill the field created by the matting. The tape can be easily removed. The drawing is not mounted to a backing.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information.

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2011
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,421

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 December 1 Nature & Science Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Ms. Sullivan proved knowledgeable, diligent and efficient in selecting items viable for the American Indian & Pre-Columbian Art Auction
    Margie Royle,
    Lakewood, NJ
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2018 April 24 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 April 24 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,407,487