Published: October 13, 2016
DALLAS, TEXAS — On Wednesday, October 12, the original promotional movie poster painting for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial sold for $394,000 including the buyer’s premium at Heritage Auctions’ sale of illustration art. This was the first time the artwork by John Alvin (1948-2008) was made available to collectors. The original painting was the image used for the standard initial release poster in 1982, when E.T. thrilled audiences.
The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, and one or more under-bidders were each willing to pay well over the artwork’s $150,000 opening price.
Alvin took inspiration from Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” and used his own daughter’s hand as a model for the painting which became the most well-associated image for the film. The original acrylic on board hung for the last 13 years on Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson’s office wall.
“Every time my son’s or daughter’s friends would see the painting they’d stand in front of it with their fingers touching in the same way,” recalled Bendetson.
Measuring about 41 by 27½ inches, the original painting is signed by the artist, and is framed in museum-quality glass.
“The compelling image of E.T.’s finger touching a child’s with the Earth below perfectly captured the awe and wonderment of this movie, which was nominated for nine Oscars,” said Ed Jaster, senior vice president at Heritage Auctions. “It’s incredible that the original art has survived this long in absolutely mint condition—but that only speaks to the love the owners have given the painting over the decades.”
A review of the auction will appear in a future issue.
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