On this foggy Christmas Eve, here’s the tenth New Yorker Album of drawings, titled The 1942 New Yorker Album , with a Perry Barlow New Yorker magazine cover from December 23, 1939 used as its cover (there’d be another Album in 1942: The New Yorker War Album — we’ll get to that another Sunday). Perry Barlow, the cover artist, was one of the most prolific of the magazine’s contributors, and possibly one of its most overlooked. The New Yorker published well over a thousand of his cartoons, and one hundred and thirty-four covers. Lee Lorenz, said of Mr. Barlow: “his drawings were deceptively casual, brought a gentle urbanity to our pages and helped establish the tone of the fledgling magazine…He had a marvelous eye for the telling gesture, and, although he returned to certain favorite situations again and again, he never repeated a face.” Mr. Lorenz also noted that Mr. Barlow was partly color-blind and depended on his wife to do the coloring for his covers.
The Album opens with a full page Arno (of course!) “What is the specialty here?” and closes with a full page Charles Addams, “Well, here’s where I say good night.” — both of a certain pre-war time, about to evaporate. Arno’s drawing takes place in a table-cloth nightclub (think the “Thin Man” movies), with a line of scantily clad chorus girls dominating the page. The gentlemen shown are wearing tuxes. In the Addams drawing the gentleman’s wearing evening dress, including a top hat.
Between the Arno and the Addams are the by now (by now to constant New Yorker readers) a very familiar crew of cartoonists. The inside flap shown below doesn’t list every contributor, but you’re sure to see names that would be carved in the New Yorker Cartoonist Hall of Fame, if we had one.
There’s no introduction in the Album, just the goods. Included are a number of hits on Nazis (Rea Irvin’s full page titled drawing: A Nazi History of the World: The Non-Aryans Are Expelled From the Garden of Eden for example), and examples of cartoonists dealing with the war-time culture here at home (example: Peter Arno’s famous, “Well, back to the old drawing board” — also a full page).
For a tenth Album of drawings you might think there was a lesser amount of energy coming off these cartoons. Just the opposite. Pick up a copy of the 1942 Album and settle in with it — you’ll find yourself in a cartoon gold mine.