An Al Ross Exhibit!; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of January 7-11, 2019; Cartoon Companion Rates The Latest New Yorker Cartoons

An Al Ross Exhibit!

Exciting news of an exhibit of work by the late great New Yorker cartoonist, Al Ross at the Gallery @ The Falcon, January 20, 2019, from 3-5pm.  Here’s the entire press release:

Gallery@TheFalcon invites the public to join the family of legendary cartoonist and artist, AL ROSS, for wine and small bites. Ross’s son – renowned “TELEMASTER” guitarist Arlen Roth, and granddaughter, singer-songwriter, Lexie Roth will be hosting. 
Born Abraham Roth in Romania, Al Ross (1911-2012) was one of the great cartoonists of the “Golden Era” of cartooning and illustration, primarily known for his seminal work in The New Yorker Magazine from 1937 to 2012. Ross’s droll cartoons featuring married couples, bar habitués, anthropomorphic animals, philosophizing prisoners, art and publishing world denizens, anachronistic mythological figures and loyal Mets fans appeared in The New Yorker for more than 60 years.

Ross’s work was featured, as well, in the world’s most respected magazines; Esquire, Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, Paris Match, Du Magazine, Colliers, Life, and Look among others. 

“…he mastered the wry, arched-eyebrow sensibility of the magazine’s cartoons, and its signature wit, which speaks to an affluent, sophisticated readership and relies partly on erudition, partly on timeliness, partly on psychological astuteness and partly on silliness.” – Bruce Weber, The New York Times

Arriving in America in 1922, Ross and his three brothers – all soccer players with artistic ability, and great senses of humor – began cartooning and studied drawing at the Art Students League. “They were always carrying on, almost like the Marx brothers.” 

Ross’s wife, Sylvia Heller, started the Rothco cartoon agency, an expansion of the cartoon bank started by Ben Roth, establishing a secondary market for published cartoons. Al Ross’s books of cartoons included titles – a product of those times – such as ,“Sexcapades: The Love Life of the Modern Homo Sapiens“, and the guide “Cartooning Fundamentals.” 

His painting, though lesser known than his cartoons, was his true passion and has been part of important collections around the world. He was a tireless creative force, turning out countless oil paintings, collages, drawings, sculptures, and of course, cartoons throughout his lifetime, from his art studio in NYC.

Of his influences, the most prevalent were Picasso, DeKooning, Roualt, Braque, Miro, Rothko, Cezanne, Matisse, John Graham, and Rodin. In the 1940’s, he studied with German-born American painter, the renowned Hans Hoffman, who in his long career preceded and influenced Abstract Expressionism, through his teaching at the Art Students League in New York City. 

Ross is the father of renowned guitarist, Arlen Roth, who has played at The Falcon numerous times, also with Arlen’s daughter, Lexie Roth, who is a singer-songwriter, actress and chef.. It is Al Ross, who encouraged and envisioned his son Arlen becoming a guitar player and he also inspired David Roth, his eldest son, to follow his footsteps and become an artist as well. 

We hope that all who see this exhibition get a chance to see and reflect upon a brilliant life of work, art, humor, family and love that is Al Ross’ true legacy.

— My thanks to Lexie Roth and Paul Karasik for bringing the above information to my attention.

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of January 7-11, 2019

Contributors to the Daily Cartoon this week: Jason Adam Katzenstein, Emma Hunsinger, Lila Ash, Kim Warp, and Karl Stevens (an online New Yorker cartoonist).

New Yorker cartoonists contributing to Daily Shouts this week: Jason Adam Katzenstein (with Aubrey Nolan), , Emily Flake, Ellis Rosen & Colin Stokes, Sharon Levy.

To see all the above work and more go here.

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The ratings are in! Go see what “Max” and “Simon” have to say about all the cartoons in the January 14th, 2019 New Yorker .

Short Video Of Interest: Setting Up The Bruce Museum’s Masterpieces From The Museum Of Comic Art Exhibit; Attempted Bloggery Looks At George Price

Here’s a short (3 minute) video showing some decision-making for the Bruce Museum’s “Masterpieces From The Museum of Comic Art” exhibit. More info here.

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Attempted Bloggery Looks At George Price

Attempted Bloggery, a Spill go-to website has begun spotlighting some interesting George Price work, including the oddity above. See it all here.

George Price’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

George Price (above) Born in Coytesville, New Jersey, June 9, 1901. Died January 12, 1995, Engelwood, New Jersey. New Yorker work: 1929 – 1991. Lee Lorenz, the New Yorker’s former Art/Cartoon editor, called Price one of the magazine’s great stylists (along with Peter Arno, Helen Hokinson, James Thurber, and William Steig). Of the many Price collections here are two favorites:  Browse At Your Own Risk (1977), and The World of George Price: A 55-Year Retrospective (1988)

Below: I’ve always loved the cover of Price’s 1963 collection, My Dear 500 Friends.

Liza Donnelly To Speak On Barbara Shermund At The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

On February 7th, Liza Donnelly will speak at Ohio’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum about Barbara Shermund, a major contributor of cartoons during The New Yorker’s early years. Details here.

Here’s Ms. Shermund’s entry on The Spill‘s A-Z:

Barbara Shermund (self portrait, to the left) Born, San Francisco. 1899. Studied at The California School of Fine Arts. Died, 1978, New Jersey. New Yorker work: June 13, 1925 thru September 16, 1944. 8 covers and 599 cartoons. Shermund’s post-New Yorker work was featured in Esquire. (See Liza Donnelly’s book, Funny Ladies — a history of The New Yorker’s women cartoonists — for more on Shermund’s life and work)

Thanks For The High Bar, Peter Arno

An Arno anthology from 1930

From 1999 through 2016 I happily threw a good percentage of my days into digging up whatever I could about Peter Arno, who was born 115 years ago this very day. All of that hunting and gathering turned into a book (I will be forever grateful to my agent and publisher for making that happen).

One of the most helpful elements in my research was Arno’s unpublished scattershot memoir, titled I Reached For The Moon. The sixty-some pages of material is mostly disconnected pieces, a very loose attempt at a timeline, and jotted down thoughts about his work, or his parents, or television, or “names” he ran into during his adventures in the city that never sleeps. One passage of strung together thoughts stayed with me during my years writing the book and has continued to stay with me:

“What many don’t realize is that I’m primarily an artist – though I had a natural urge toward the comic from school days on.… I’ve spent hundreds of hours painting in oils and other media.  The black and white [cartoons] are a synthesis of all these efforts…To be a great cartoonist, a man should be first a first-class great artist.  He should be capable of producing a minor masterpiece in any medium.”

I suppose the passage has stuck with me because it neatly sums-up the high bar Arno demanded of himself and hoped for from his colleagues as the New Yorker was taking baby steps in its earliest days. That high bar was no small thing. Think about what people think about when they think of New Yorker cartoons. Think about the well-worn expression, The first thing people turn to in The New Yorker are the cartoons. If that is true (and I believe it has truth to it) Peter Arno deserves a Mack truck full of credit for driving the readership to the magazine and, no less a thing, driving his colleagues to excellence.

Look through any issue of The New Yorker from Arno’s run there during the magazine’s so-called Golden Age and you will see a magazine overjoyed with the cartoons it had to show the readership; cartoons played across the page; cartoons ran full page; cartoons ran in spreads that took up multiple pages; cartoonists provided the majority of cover art. Arno’s art, and Arno’s influence on the art was central to the magazine’s exuberance. He was, in the words of the New Yorker‘s founder, Harold Ross:

“The greatest artist in the world.”

“Our first pathfinder.”

“Our spark plug.”

Happy birthday, Arno — and thanks for the high bar.