Press Release for Rare oil originals painted by the late Robert Childress up for auction on April
8th at Saco River Auction Company:
Saco River Auction Company in Biddeford will be auctioning off 8 original oil illustrations and
1 original pencil illustration and a number of published agricultural drawings painted by the
late Robert Childress on April 8th. Childress was known for his commercial work for Coca-
Cola, Wonder Bread, Campbell Soup, Westinghouse and more. His work graced the covers
of Sat. Eve. Post, Yankee magazine, Reader’s Digest, and other national periodicals. He was
particularly talented in creating beautiful landscapes, story illustrations, and oil portraits of such
notables as Duncan Hines (portrait appeared on the back of the DH cookbook and on the back
of the red box of cake mix), Deans of Cornell (these portraits still hang in the Mann Library at
Cornell), and a portrait of James Byrnes, Justice of the Supreme Court. From 1958-68, Childress
was chosen by Scott Foresman to illustrate the Sally, Dick and Jane reading books. The Norman
Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA has a permanent exhibit of his works. For more on his
life, go to:
The 8 original oils are on boards and were done for Agricultural Research calendar in 1948.
They have an empty text box in the center so they can be used again for marketing by the
successful bidder. The original 1948 published calendar will be included.
The original pencil, “Chicks Hatching” was done for GLF (Grange League Federation) for their
calendar. The original published calendar for this drawing will be included.
Lastly, there are a large number of printed agricultural works created for the Farm Bureau,
Agriculturalist, 4-H, and GLF that are a wonderful testimony to by-gone days!
The artist’s daughter, a resident of Maine, was the model for “Sally” in the reading books. Her
father’s works are rare and hard to find since most of his works were done as “works for hire”
for which the companies kept the originals. “They will only keep increasing in value and it’s
a great investment” said Childress, a lawyer and educator who came across these when she
recently moved to Maine.