After completing his pre-production design work on Return of the Jedi in 1981, McQuarrie created a series of illustrations intended for the Return of the Jedi Portfolio, published by Ballantine Books. The artist worked from reference images of the film itself, as well as elements such as model reference photos (for example, the Imperial Shuttle is painted from a photograph of an early concept model). At the same time, McQuarrie infused the painting with the same qualities his earlier works had by not translating everything in the film literally; for example, the royal guards feature different helmets that expose their faces, and the ground crewmen bear a closer resemblance to McQuarrie's concept work than the film itself. Illustrating in this pre-production style meant the portfolio illustrations blended seamlessly with the earlier paintings done for pre-production on Return of the Jedi.
This illustration of Vader's arrival is rendered mixed media, primarily in gouache on illustration board. McQuarrie originally painted the scene with Luke Skywalker standing next to Vader, but he was asked to repaint it to feature an Imperial officer rather than Luke. Many of McQuarrie's production paintings underwent such a repaint, as he was frequently asked to revise things, which he did by painting directly over pre-existing work. Evidence of the original painted characters remains visible here under close examination.
Widely regarded as the artist who made the greatest contribution to the look of Star Wars, McQuarrie's impact on the design of the saga cannot be overstated. The inclusion of Vader, one of the artist's most significant designs, makes this piece one of McQuarrie's most highly regarded paintings created for Return of the Jedi.
McQuarrie's original trilogy paintings are the pinnacle of his artwork and highly sought after by collectors. This piece was gifted to Return of the Jedi co-producer Robert Watts at the end of production, and comes directly from his personal collection. It has never previously been offered for sale. The artwork bears the artist's signature at the lower left side. It is housed in Watts' original vintage frame and glazed with acrylic. Dimensions (on board): 59 cm x 39.5 cm (22" x 15 1/2")
£120,000 - 180,000 M
*Sold without copyright; see copyright notice in the Buyer's Guide
This lot comes from the personal collection of celebrated film producer Robert Watts. Watts’ career began in the 1960s with location manager, production manager and assistant director credits on movies including Thunderball, Repulsion, Darling, Papillon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars: A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Robert went on to become producer of such classics as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s fair to say his CV includes some of the most popular movies of all time.
Robert and his family are parting ways with these important artefacts so that they may find new custodians to cherish and appreciate them for years to come.
This item comes with a Prop Store Certificate of Authenticity.