"Nuzzlepuss" Official Seal Seuss Navy, 3¾ in. tall, 5½ in. diameter." />
9 June 2004
[SEUSS, Dr.]. Patinated metal "Nuzzlepuss" ashtray, ca. 1940, incised "Nuzzlepuss" Official Seal Seuss Navy, 3¾ in. tall, 5½ in. diameter.
A VERY SCARCE ARTIFACT FROM SEUSS'S EARLY ADVERTISING DAYS. Seuss had launched this bogus navy in 1936 when he designed the Essomarine booth for Standard Oil at the National Motorboat Show in Grand Central Palace. "Visitors were signed on as admirals, handed diplomas and photographed with cardboard Dr. Seuss characters. As admiral in chief, Ted signed commissions that spread from boat owners to celebrities and newspaper columnists; by 1939 there were two thousand admirals... Ted recalled that it was 'cheaper [for Standard Oil] to give a party for a few thousand people, furnishing all the booze, than it was to advertise in full-page ads. We never mentioned the product at all. Reporters would cover the party, and then would write our commercials for us.'... Ted and Esso commissioned the entire fleet of Standard Oil tankers into the Seuss Navy. Then came the ocean liners, even the Queen Mary... Journalists publicized Ted's gift for engaging nonsense and his reputation grew as a wit" (Judith and Neil Morgan, Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel, New York, 1996, p.86). The Nuzzlepuss presiding over this ashtray of course wears his own admiral hat, and bears an anchor proudly on his chest.
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Decorative and dangerous, the most impressive group of courtly quality weapons to come to auction in well over a generation
This month, Christie’s offers one of the American artist’s large-scale works. In October, she will tackle the monumental proportions of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall