Who is Mouse-Kelley?

Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley were innovators of the most important art movement in the latter 20th century and they captured the excitement of the times with their distinctive artist style. They are credited with changing the art of the genre.

Stanley Mouse was trained at the Detroit’s School for the Society of Arts and Crafts. He later dropped out to pursue rock poster art in San Francisco amid the turbulent 60’s. Mouse met Alton Kelley in San Francisco and, as they say, history was made. Alton Kelley, previously from Connecticut, had been a welder and went to art school at the Philadelphia Museum and College of Art. In 1959 he hitchhiked to San Francisco to see the scene. After returning to art school back east, Kelley decided he hated it and made his way back to California.

Mouse and Kelley collaborated on rock posters for over 15 years. One of their most famous images, the Grateful Dead skeleton and roses motif, (FD-26) appears in the September 20th auction. They founded the Mouse Studios and The Monster Company and produced album covers as well as poster and t-shirts, most famously the covers for Journey and the Grateful Dead.

Lot 1230, "Grateful Dead Skeleton and Roses," 9/16-17/1966

The two artists made numerous posters for shows at the Avalon Ballroom. The music venue was in the Polk Gulch neighborhood of San Francisco, California, and is known as the location of many concerts in the mid-to-late sixties counterculture movement. At the Avalon, two bands typically performed two sets during the evening beginning at about nine o'clock. Many local bands such as Steve Miller served as backup to the Doors and the 13th Floor Elevators. The Grateful Dead played at the Avalon twenty-nine times and record two live albums there-Vintage Dead and Historic Dead.

The Avalon Ballroom exterior in 2022

In addition to the FD-26, lot 1230 and four other rock posters in the auction, two other amazing posters by Mouse Kelley are offered: lot 1233 “Bo Diddley” and lot 1234 “13th Floor Elevators.”


Lot 1233, Bo Diddley. "Earthquake," concert poster and lot 1234, FD-28. "Zebra Man" 13th Floor Elevators

Do not miss the opportunity to own a psychedelic work of art and music history!


Kathleen Hamill
Director of Modern & Contemporary Art