“The Brightest Thought of Many Bright Minds”: The 1940 New Yorker Album

From the inside flap copy of this album: “The brightest thought of many bright minds”…well, heck, I’m not going to argue with that. Published by Random House in 1939, and using Peter Arno’s New Yorker cover from January 1938, this is the last of the Albums produced before the Unites States entered WWII.  The cover depicts a Cafe Society moment, an Arno specialty that faded as the war years began.

 

The flap copy shown below tells the story of what to expect, cartoon quality-wise (and “Spot” drawings–wise). These are the founding mothers & fathers of the New Yorker single panel.  In just a few years, and throughout the 1940s, they’d be joined by a number of additional giants of the field, including  Steinberg, Frank Modell, Sam Cobean, Dana Fradon, Anatol Kovarsky, Roberta MacDonald, Mischa Richter, and Charles Saxon. This album also, in a way, marks the end of the earlier incarnation of the magazine’s art department and the beginning of the editorship of James Geraghty. His hiring in 1939 led to the organization of the art department into an actual department, with an editor (Geraghty) devoted to the artists (all the artists: cartoonists, cover artists, spot artists). That model stayed intact under Mr. Geraghty, and then his successor, Lee Lorenz, until Tina Brown split the art department in 1993, creating  the titles, Cartoon Editor (Mr. Lorenz’s new title), and Art Editor (Francoise Mouly was hired and given that title, with the responsibility of overseeing the cover art).  

Being a Thurberite I can’t help but mentioning that two of my all-time favorite Thurber drawings (actually, I love all of his drawings) are included in this volume:

“Ooooo, guesties!” (shown in this link, upper right of the page).

“Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?”

There is no introduction to this album, nor any flap copy other than that shown above. The production is top-shelf, with heavy paper and a flawless lay-out. This album is easily found on Abebooks.com for very little. The back cover, shown below, is given over to a drawing by the great Helen Hokinson.

 

“A Source of Very Special Delight” — The New Yorker Album of Sports & Games; An Ink Spill Super Bowl Tradition

Just in time for two giant sports happenings: the Super Bowl, and the Winter Olympics: The New Yorker Album of Sports & Games.  At the bottom of today’s post an Ink Spill Super Bowl Sunday tradition with a football-related drawing of mine from some time back. 

It only took sixteen years following the first themed New Yorker album of drawings  (that would be The War Album, published in 1942) for a second to appear.  Deftly designed by Carmine Peppe (spelled “Carmin” in this album for some reason), who William Shawn described as “the one make-up editor in the world who could provide [Harold Ross] with the chaste and lovely pages that would properly set off whatever we published.” I love how Mr. Peppe placed Rea Irvin‘s Tilley all over the place, on the front and on the back cover. He knew an icon when he saw one.

Curiously, although there are plenty of cartoons about sports featured in both Summer & Winter Olympics,  there is not one cartoon specifically related  to the Olympics. No matter. No one can fault an album delivering large doses of work by, among many others, Mary Petty, Charles Addams, Thurber, Steinberg, Steig, Helen Hokinson, Anatol Kovarsky, Peter Arno, Barbara Shermund, George Price, and Charles Saxon.  Looking through you’ll see at least two themes rarely seen in the magazine these days: mountain climbing and moose hunting (although Charles Addams’ drawing of a moose driving a car down a mountain road with a hunter tied to the front fender could surely appear now).  There are an awful lot of drawings about mountain climbing — I guess everyone took a shot at those back then.

From the inside flap copy (there is no Introduction):

“Almost anyone who has ever been involved in sports and games, either as a participant or from the sidelines, will find this collection a source of very special delight”

For those wanting to add this album to their collection, it’s easy to find.  I just went over to AbeBooks.com and found a copy with its dust jacket for about four bucks. Deal!

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And here, continuing an Ink Spill  Super Bowl Sunday tradition, is a drawing of mine that appeared in the October 16, 2006 issue of The New Yorker.

 

 

The Tilley Watch Online; Photos from the Kovarsky Opening; “Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

Among the magazine’s Daily cartoons this week:  Kim Warp’s weary winter weather drawing; Brendan Loper’s tweeter-in-chief cartoon;  Lars Kenseth’s  take on this week’s  unusual White House media moment, and Peter Kuper’s Trumpian map of the world.   

Over on Daily Shouts, these were the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Ellis Rosen and Liana Finck

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Photos From the Kovarsky Opening at The Society of Illustrators

A packed house last night at the Society of Illustrators Opening Reception for Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker. Here’s an array of photos (all by Liza Donnelly, with one exception: the photo of Liza Donnelly and her husband– that’s courtesy of Gina Kovarsky)

Above: a wall of Kovarskys.

Below: Anatol Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina, and Mr. Kovarsky’s wife, Lucille Patton; Ellen Lind and John Lind.  Gina Kovarsky and John Lind co-curated the exhibit.

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Sam Gross and Felipe Galindo

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin

Below: Sam Gross and New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein

Below: Writer/illustrator Mo Willems, Columbia University’s Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Karen Green, and John Lind

 

A closing thought on the exhibit, which runs til March 3 of this year:

This is a terrific show.  The energy bouncing off Mr. Kovarsky’s work on the walls is inspiring.   After looking at all of the covers and drawings I went back and spent more time looking at Mr. Kovarsky’s very first cartoon for the New Yorker.  It was published in the issue of March 1, 1947; here’s how it appeared:

I’ve always had a special affection for first New Yorker drawings.  It is, as they say, a moment.  Every cartoonist remembers the details surrounding their first published drawing. The unspoken mini-drama surrounding the first is that no one knows, of course, whether there’ll be a second (see the Spill‘s One Clubbers on the A-Z).  In Mr. Kovarsky’s case there was a second, and then there were hundreds more — close to 300 in fact. If that wasn’t something impressive in itself, he also contributed 40 covers.  And all this work was done in the relatively short time span of twenty-two years (according to Gina Kovarsky: “In the 1970s, Kovarsky shifted his main focus from cartooning to fine art…”).  It will not come as a surprise to anyone seeing this exhibit how Kovarsky accomplished so much in a mere two decades. It is as if he never set his pen or his brush down for a moment. Kovarsky’s world seemed to be abuzz 24/7. How lucky for us all.   

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“Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

From Westchester Magazine, January 12, 2018, “You Can Meet New Yorker Cartoonists…”

 Here’s a capsule description from the article:

“Not OK” — Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough is a collection of works by previous New Yorker-published cartoonists that fit exactly that bill. Curated by artist and Brooklynite David Ostow, this series has come to Westchester for a month-long showing following the completion of its original gallery run in Bushwick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Steig; A Richard Decker Self Portrait & One More Kovarsky!

Vintage Steig

From Mike Lynch’s blog, courtesy of Dick Buchanan’s treasure trove of cartoon art, “William Steig Gag Cartoons 1946 – 1965” — see them all here.  (above: from Look magazine, February 17, 1959).

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A Richard Decker Self Portrait and One More Kovarsky!

And speaking of Dick Buchanan, an interesting tear sheet containing a Richard Decker self portrait is the subject of today’s Attempted Bloggery post.  See it here (a portion shown above). And while there scroll down to see an auctioned  Anatol Kovarsky drawing, along with commentary by Mr. Kovarsky’s daughter.

Further info__________________________________

Richard Decker’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Richard Decker (pictured above) Born, Philadelphia, Penn. May 6, 1907. Died, November 1, 1988. New Yorker work, 1931 – 1969, over 900 drawings, and four covers.

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Anatol Kovarsky’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Anatol Kovarsky (photo above, NYC, 2013. By Liza Donnelly) Born, Moscow. Died, June 1, 2016, NYC. Collection: Kovarsky’s World (Knopf, 1956) NYer work: 1947 -1969. Link to Ink Spill’s  2013 piece, “Anatol Kovarsky at 94: Still Drawing After All These Years”

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William Steig’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

William Steig (photo above) Born in Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 14, 1907, died in Boston, Mass., Oct. 3, 2003. In a New Yorker career that lasted well over half a century and a publishing history that contains more than a cart load of books, both children’s and otherwise, it’s impossible to sum up Steig’s influence here on Ink Spill. He was among the giants of the New Yorker cartoon world, along with James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Helen Hokinson and Peter Arno. Lee Lorenz’s World of William Steig (Artisan, 1998) is an excellent way to begin exploring Steig’s life and work. New Yorker work: 1930 -2003.

 

 

Anatol Kovarsky Opening Reception Tomorrow at The Society of Illustrators; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; Article of Interest: The New Yorker’s Newsletter Director; Interview of Interest: Chris Ware

Anatol Kovarsky Opening Reception Tomorrow at The Society of Illustrators

You’ve seen the name “Kovarsky” and a whole lot of his work here on the Spill every week for quite some time now as we approached the opening exhibit of his work at the Society of Illustrators.  Well, the show is up, and tomorrow evening is the opening reception (it’s open to the public). 

For anyone interested in seeing New Yorker cartoons and covers from its Golden Age up close and personal, this is where you should be tomorrow evening. An inspiring exhibit. 

All the info here.

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Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated

  The CC boys, “Max” & “Simon” are back with a look at all the cartoons in the latest issue of The New Yorker (January 15th).  Perhaps it’s worth noting that there is no other place on the internet (or off) that does what they do.

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Article of Interest: The New Yorker’s Newsletter Director, Dan Oshinsky

From Niemanlab, January 10, 2018, ” With its newsletter director, The New Yorker wants to experiment with standalone and international-focused product” — an article about Dan Oshinsky…with New Yorker cartoon content.  Read it here.  

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Book of Interest: Chris Ware’s “Monograph”

From Chicago Magazine, January 10, 2018, “Chris Ware on Monograph, His Creative Process, and the False Urban-Suburban Dichotomy” — whew, what a headline!  An interview with Mr. Ware.  Read it here.

Walking Tour of Interest: Library of Congress’s “Drawn To Purpose”; Exhibit of Interest: Shannon Wheeler; Kovarsky Opening Reception at the Society of Illustrators, Friday, Jan. 12!

From Comics DC, January 9, 2018, “Touring the LoC’s Drawn  to Purpose exhibit with curator Martha Kennedy” — an interesting walk through with Mike Rhode. Among the New Yorker contributors mentioned: Barbara Shermund, Roberta MacDonald, Liza Donnelly, Roz Chast, Helen Hokinson, and Alice Harvey. Read it here.

Link to the Library of Congress’s page here.

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Exhibit of Interest: Shannon Wheeler

From Bleeding Cool. January 9, 2018, “Shannon Wheeler’s Exhibition of Trump Cartoons, Across From Mar-A-Lago

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A Reminder: The Opening Reception for the Society of Illustrator’s exhibit “Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker” is this Friday, January 12thDetails here.  

More Unseen Kovarsky: Mike Lynch has posted a number of previously unpublished work by Mr. Kovarsky.  See it here!