Steinberg & Hitchcock

New Yorker cartoonist Liam Walsh brought this intersection of Steinberg and Alfred Hitchcock to my attention. From Hitchcock’s 1955 film, The Trouble with Harry, the opening credits.

Ink Spill visitors might remember that Liam also alerted this site to  another Hitchcock/New Yorker connection. In Hitchcock’s 1944 film, LifeboatEustace Tilley has a cameo at the 2:04 mark (sorry, you’ll have to find the Youtube clip).

Peter Steiner illustrates; Mark Singer on Edward Koren’s 50th anniversary; Aline-Kominsky Crumb @ MoCCA; Fiction Writers Review blog adds cartoons; Addams Family costumes; Science Cracking the Humor Code?; Audio interview: Liza Donnelly; Mankoff & Co. on dreamed cartoons


From Speaker System, “10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said” (W. W. Norton & Co.) This new book by Charles Wheelan is illustrated by the one and only Peter Steiner.  Visit your neighborhood online book seller for a peek inside.


From, June 1, 2012, “Ed Koren Arrives” — Mark Singer on Mr. Koren’s 50th anniversary at The New Yorker.  (a slideshow accompanies the post).



From Omnicomic, May 31, 2012, “MoCCA Gets a Miami Makeover” Aline Kominsky-Crumb collaborates with Dominique Sapel (exhibit opens June 14th).


From Fiction Writers Review, June 1, 2012, “The Flyleaf” — with an inaugural cartoon by Tom Toro

From Costume Direct, some semi-familiar garb


From The Huffington Post, May 31, 2012, “Should Science Crack the Humor Code?” (with Steinberg content)


From Tall Tale Radio, May 24, 2012, this audio interview with Liza Donnelly


From, May 31, 2012, “In Dreams Begin Cartoons”Bob Mankoff (with a little help from Sam Cobean, Robert Leighton, Joe Dator, and Kaamran Hafeez ) explores the relationship between zzzzzs and cartoons.

Steinberg biography; new Updike on Art


From the Library Journal, their Fall preview lists a third book of observations on art by John Updike, Always Looking: Essays on Art (Knopf). His first two: Just Looking (Knopf, 1989), and Still Looking (Knopf, 2005).


Also from The Library Journal,  a listing for Saul Steinberg: A Biography (Nan A. Talese: Doubleday) by Deirdre Bair. This should be fascinating.  According to the Library Journal’s listing, the author was allowed to “rummage through 177 boxes of never-before-seen materials to write this biography.”

Link here for the Library Journal’s post.

Looking for more Steinberg? Harold Rosenberg’s Saul Steinberg (Knopf, 1978) and Joel Smith’s Steinberg at The New Yorker ( Abrams, 2005) are worth seeking out, as are all of Steinbergs collections.


An Arno on My Desk

Above: “And now you must meet my bosom friend.”  (rough version of the drawing published in The New Yorker, October 10, 1931)


An Arno on My Desk


Not too long ago I took an original Peter Arno drawing we own, popped it out of its frame, and placed it on my desk.  My thinking was that the drawing, unadorned by glass and metal, might bring me somehow closer to Arno.


His work up close is even more graphically powerful than it appeared in the pages of The New Yorker, and that’s saying something.  No one commanded the magazine’s pages like Arno: not Steinberg, not Gluyas Williams, not Addams.  While Steinberg’s work played and soared and amazed, it never got right up in your face like Arno’s.  Williams’ full pages were delights of subtle construction, and Addams’ draftsmanship ominously hilarious (as the veteran New Yorker cartoonist, Henry Martin, might say, “he drew funny.”) but Arno’s work overpowered, and demanded attention.


Arno drew large in a fairly small space.  The 10” x 15” Bainbridge board holding this particular drawing seems barely big enough to hold his patented swooping brushstrokes.  Like the man himself, the work presents itself all at once, and not, as Frank Sinatra once sang, “in a shy way.”


Obviously not pleased with the rough, Arno went on to do god-knows-how-many-more versions before deciding on the piece eventually published. The major change (improvement?) is that the two central women have become bustier, playing more obviously on the word “bosom’ in the caption. (In The New Yorker’s archives I found this drawing’s caption on a list of “Ideas which Have Been Assigned to Peter Arno.” Unfortunately, the person who wrote the caption is not identified).


Looking very close at the rough version, the pencil lines can be seen cutting beneath the brushstrokes. Arno’s brushstrokes are deceptive; they look as if he brushed with abandon; it was anything but.  Each stroke was plotted in advance. And yet, we know that as he worked, he sometimes sang and tapped his feet to a personal rhythm.  A man who knew exactly what he wanted to do on the page, and who had a hell of a time doing it.


For now, the 81 year old Arno drawing remains on my desk.  There’s definitely a vibe surrounding it –- especially today, on what would’ve been his 108th birthday.