Seven years ago I received an anonymous gift through the mail: an interesting copy of Peter Arno’s 1931 collection of drawings, Hullabaloo. The book was obviously well-loved as it included a stack of clipped drawings (mostly cartoons) and glued-in clippings (cartoons by Arno, some by his New Yorker colleagues).
One of the pasted-in clippings is a piece by Selma Robinson, “Manhattan’s Own.” I’ve always loved the Arno portrait. It reads “Drawn from life by Dorothea C. Parrot with voluntary amendments by Mr. Arno.”
I don’t know where this piece ran (If anyone does, I’d love to hear from you). But I do know, from everything I’ve read and heard about Arno, that it does an excellent job of summarizing him in his 28th year, when he was The New Yorker‘s brightest star.
What was true about Arno in 1931 as Ms. Robinson described him: “handsome, and slightly spoiled, witty, shy, moody” remained so his entire life. One is tempted to believe those were the ingredients that largely made the artist. Like him, or not; like his art, or not — his drawings helped rescue The New Yorker , allowing it time enough to survive on its own. And now, here we are, about to celebrate The New Yorker’s 96th birthday next month, and the 117th anniversary of Arno’s birth today.
Here’s how Hullabaloo, Arno’s second collection of his drawings, published in 1930 by Horace Liveright, looks with its dust jacket).
And here’s Arno’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Peter Arno Born Curtis Arnoux Peters, Jr., January 8, 1904, New York City. Died February 22, 1968, Port Chester, NY. New Yorker work: 1925 -1968. Key collection: Ladies & Gentlemen (Simon & Schuster, 1951) The Foreword is by Arno. For far more on Arno please check out my biography of him, Peter Arno: The Mad Mad World of The New Yorker’s Greatest Cartoonist (Regan Arts, 2016).
Early Release: The New Yorker’s January 18, 2021 Cover
Here’s Edel Rodriguez’s early released New Yorker cover for next week’s issue (the latest issue covers are usually posted Monday mornings). Read more here.