Oor Wullie under the hammer

May 11, 2011 in News

Rob Murray writes:

An oil painting of iconic Scottish cartoon-strip character Oor Wullie is due to be auctioned in Glasgow on Thursday night, and has been valued at between £2,500 and £3,500.

Oor Wullie Oil Painting by Graham McKean

© STV – Scottish Television – Image by artist Graham McKean

The painting, by Irvine-based artist Graham McKean, shows D.C. Thomson‘s Wullie – and his trademark upturned bucket – away from his Dundee home and sat on a sandy beach.

McKean has called the painting ‘Oor Wullie, Your Wullie, A Holiday Wullie’ – a play on the strip’s tagline of ‘Oor Wullie! Your Wullie! A ‘body’s Wullie!’

The character is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, having first appeared in the Sunday Post in 1936.

“I have painted many famous people over the years but I wanted to do a real Scottish icon this time, and that was when I thought of Wullie,” McKean told STV News.

“Like many Scottish youngsters, I grew up reading Oor Wullie and The Broons, although when I was deciding where to set the piece I decided to take him away from Dundee and put him in a location closer to my own home,” he added.

The auction raises the age-old question about the relative value of different art forms.

If McKean’s painting reaches its expected sale price, it will have made roughly double that of a sketchbook containing Wullie drawings by the character’s original artist, legendary Thomson cartoonist Dudley D. Watkins – which sold last year for £1,600.

Meanwhile, Wullie has been reinterpreted in a very different way in the current issue of Viz. A one-page strip titled ‘Oor Frankie’, drawn by Davey Jones, casts comedian Frankie Boyle in the role and, for a limited time, can be viewed here for free.

Bloghorn says if you would like to share a view on the value of art and cartoon, or even of cartoon and art, please do in the comments below.

3 responses to Oor Wullie under the hammer

  1. It’s a very nice painting of a boy on a bucket – doesn’t look much like Wullie though.

  2. I grew up with Oor Wullie. I still have some of the annuals…and the Broons of course. Great drawing, writing and wit. Not sure about the painting…

  3. Logically, Watkins’ originals must be worth more than this painting, unless of course Graham McKean’s work is equally sought after. He seems to be a prolific and popular artist;a sort of Magritte meets Beryl Cook and Jack Veteriwossname. With Crumb-ish feet. Quite engaging. Perhaps this might herald a new crossover genre – “serious” artists interpreting the relatively worthless offerings of we throwaway cartoonists-thereby increasing the price placed on originals, perhaps.
    Ooh look ! A flying pig.

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