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Noontime on a busy street in Duckburg. Donald Duck has just picked up his new tweed jacket and bullied cousin Gladstone out of the loan of a walking stick. He stops at the florist for a bouquet and a boutonniere. On the way out, he bumps into one of his nephews lugging a shoeshine kit. Don checks his watch: there’s time for a quick buff on the way to Daisy’s. A simple scene, but it shows us ourselves. His hopes and dreams are our hopes and dreams; even a downtown street corner can be touched for a moment with magic, and this has made the duck one of the world’s most beloved cartoon characters.
Of all Carl Barks oil paintings only a percentage were appropriate to produce as lithographs and, obviously, fewer still as world class English bone china porcelains. Our first two had to include a definitive Scrooge McDuck and a quintessential Donald Duck, if they were to become trend setters. Emblematic of our company, the visionary young Scrooge in Always Another Rainbow was an obvious choice for the first. And what better than a dapper Donald Duck in Dude for a Day, decked out in his Sunday best for the second? The two choices offered subtle contrasts: the gold in McDuck’s poke and the fine bouquet of flowers in Donald’s hand. Production was entrusted to Connoisseur of Malvern, a British studio whose porcelain artworks grace Buckingham Palace, the White House and the many homes of the Sultan of Brunei. Because the studio specializes in floral pieces, its sculptors took great pride in researching Donald’s bouquet and rendering the cartoon blossoms as real flowers. Compare the two: Barks’ version and that of Connoissuer! If one cannot afford a secondary-market copy of the latter, a few proofs and other copies of the lithograph are available (see below).
Chronology: As Barks historian Barbara Boatner said of Dude for a Day in The Fine Art of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck (reproduced on Page 233), “This is Donald, tall, duck and handsome, master of his fate and captain of his soul -- for the moment.” The painting appeared in the book as Plate 77, noted as Barks’ second oil done in the early winter of 1975. It was his 93rd overall and is especially interesting being one of a group of possibly the best four miniature 10”x 8” paintings of his career … all executed in December 1974 or January ’75. The Old Duck Man was on a roll! (The other three were Pick and Shovel Laborer; Make Your Move, Podner (a magnificent mini of Donald in cowboy regalia, which, had we known where the painting was at that time, it, too, like the others, would have been produced as both a lithograph and a figurine); and Always Another Rainbow.)
Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #620 (Series II), January 1999, featured Dude for a Day twice, the oil painting plus an explanation of the lithograph editions on the back cover and a variant-angle color photo of the porcelain on the title page. This comic may be purchased from Another Rainbow while limited supplies last (See the Gladstone webpages.)
Dude for a Day was printed by the Black Box of Chicago in 1991 in four U.S. editions: first were 100 Figurine, pre-released a year later in 1992, in framed prints with matching numbers to accompany the porcelains; then, five years after that, in 1997, Another Rainbow distributed 5 Progressive proof sets plus 100 Gold Plates, and 595 Regular lithos . The image size is 10”x 8” on 13 1/2”x11” Opalesque Silk TM paper constructed from 100% cotton fibers for strength and longevity, guaranteed not to fade under moderate, stable storage conditions for hundreds of years.
- Regular Edition Price for #11 and up $395 (sold)
- Regular Edition Price for #2-10, add 15% (available)
- Regular Edition Price for #1, add 55% (available)
- Gold Plate Edition #11-100, add 20% (sold)
- Gold Plate Edition #2-10, add 55% (available)
- Gold Plate Edition #1, add 125% (sold)
- Publishers and Printer’s proofs, add 80% (available)
- Artist Proofs, add 120% (available)
- Progressive Proofs, Special Editions and Foreign Editions, inquire. (available)