King Beowulf and
Xerxes and Harem
by Carl Barks
20"x 16" Large lithographs
(late 1970s)

In the late 1970s Carl Barks embarked on two series of themed paintings. Though non-Disney, each has acquired its own cult following among collectors.

The first was a tongue-in-cheek hybrid of oils and watercolors featuring human beings with duck faces, “Famous figures of history as they might have looked had their genes gotten mixed with waterfowl.” The best of these hilarious spoofs is, arguably, the mildly risqué Xerxes and Harem.

Second was the well-researched series portraying “Kings and Queens of Myth and Legend.” Barks did fewer of these, but they were executed during one of his periods of great energy and verve, and many collectors felt King Beowulf was his number one effort.

What is not as well known is that Barks produced these two paintings as limited edition lithographs, numbering and signing 250 Regular Edition prints of the former and 300 of the latter, in addition to 50 Artist’s Proofs of each.

After carefully sketching remarques (small pencil drawings) in the corner of scattered numbers throughout each edition, he and Bruce Hamilton went about offering the lithographs to the marketplace. Soon, about half of one edition was sold and about a third of the other.

A very significant thing then happened: Another Rainbow was formed and Disney granted the company a license to commission Barks to resume doing oils of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge as lithographs. Barks immediately took brush to hand and began to paint Sailing the Spanish Main. The country was in a mild recession at the time, so Barks and Hamilton decided to shelve Xerxes and Beowulf and reintroduce them later. Neither had the slightest idea that that wouldn’t happen until 1993 – almost fifteen years later!

King Beowulf is pictured here. Xerxes and Harem (click on link) has scantily clad women the some readers may find objectionable. Both full-size, 20”x16” image lithographs are now available again– offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

As of June 18, 2009, less than a hand full of Beowulf prints remarqued with individual pencil gags remain – no two alike, some with yellow pencil color added. For Xerxes, there are are about a dozen. Barks never remarqued any of the Disney lithos, so this opportunity is rare….and may, in fact, be the last time you’ll have the opportunity to get an individual and original drawing like this. The price of the drawings adds from $1,000 to $1,400 per print. [Click here to see photos of the remarqed lithographs - contact us immediately to reserve one]

  • Regular Edition Price for Beowulf #11 and up $520 (available)
  • Regular Edition Price for Xerxes #11 and up $635 (available)
  • Regular Edition Price for #2-10, add 15% (Sold)
  • Regular Edition Price for #1, add 65% (Sold)
  • Artist Proof #1, add 185% (Sold)
  • Artist Proof #2-10, add 100% (available)
  • Artist Proof #11-50, add 65% (available)
  • Original Remarqued lithographs, add $1000 - 1400, depending on drawing (inquire immediately as to availability)

Ordering Information

Shipping via Priority Mail - in the USA ......$20.00