Participate in This Auction to Bring Ronald Searle’s Art to America

The work of British illustration icon Ronald Searle, who passed away two years ago at the age of 91, has influenced innumerable illustrators, designers, cartoonists, and animators over the past sixty years. One of the artists who can claim to being inspired is veteran story artist Matt Jones, who works at Pixar by day and curates the Ronald Searle Tribute blog by night.

What sets Matt apart from the average fan is that he became friends with Searle during the last years of his life, visiting him numerous times in the south of France and exchanging frequent letters. Now, Jones has hatched a plan to shine greater attention onto Searle’s work in the United States by staging the first-ever West Coast art show of Searle’s artwork. The show, “Searle in America,” will exhibit the drawings that Searle made in America while on reportage assignments for Holiday magazine, like the top view of American sailors in Honolulu or this view of a slot player in Las Vegas:

Jones is collaborating on the exhibit with San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. However, the cost of shipping Searle’s artwork from Europe and printing a catalogue are prohibitively expensive for the non-profit museum. To help raise money for the show, they are organizing an auction of new illustrations and paintings inspired by Searle. The Cartoon Art Museum will begin the auction later this month on eBay and all the money raised will go directly toward the costs of presenting the show.

I’m rooting for them to pull this off because it’ll provide a benefit to the entire visual arts community on the West Coast who will have an opportunity to see Searle’s original artwork. Jones is inviting artists to mail their own Searle-inspired contributions for the auction by July 15th. For more details, you can contact him via this page.

Here’s a preview of some of the artwork that will be auctioned, a lot of it which is created by artists who work in the animation industry:


  • Matt Jones

    Thanks Amid, great plug! Full disclosure: we’re actually shipping artwork WITHIN the U.S. Most of Searle’s 60s era American reportage work is still here in collections on the East Coast and private collections in Los Angeles. The shipping & insurance is still expensive and to pay for museum fees, photography of artwork and the catalogue production etc. is also a big expense.

    • steepertree

      These are standard (and huge) costs in the museum business. I suspect the Cartoon Art Museum doesn’t have as deep pockets or rosters of corporate sponsors such as a fine art museum has. Have you considered looking for a second venue, perhaps on the east coast, to spread the costs around?

  • Uli Meyer

    This is a such a brilliant idea and I wish I could be there when it happens. Luckily there will be the catalogue. Thanks to Matt and his Welsh persistence. I’ll be bidding on those fountain pens, I’ve been saving up for the past eight months!

    • Matt Jones

      Cheers! While Uli’s bidding on those pens everyone else can bid on 2 incredible Searle-esque drawings by him PLUS an original, one-of-a-kind cel from his St Trinians animated test.

  • Shaenon K. Garrity

    Thanks for helping us to spread the word! Like Matt said, loan fees, shipping costs, insurance, etc. are larger for this exhibition than most, and we’re hoping to put together a full-color catalog, too. There hasn’t been a major west coast exhibition of Searle’s work to the best of our knowledge (and Matt would know), and we’re really excited about bringing his work to California.

    –Andrew Farago, Cartoon Art Museum Curator