This hot and humid long 4th of July weekend makes me think of specific favorite summertime New Yorker covers. The choices are good and plenty when one decides to select a few favorites from the magazine’s 94 years; for every one shown here, there are at least five more that fall into the fave category — these half dozen are but a fraction of the magazine’s superb summertime covers.
It’s perhaps worth noting that each of the artists below contributed both cartoons and covers to The New Yorker. They all hail from the pre-Tina Brown days when more than 60% of the magazine’s covers were contributed by its cartoonists (a reasonable guess would be that the % now of the magazine’s cartoonists contributing covers is somewhere in the low single digits).
This August 4th 1945 Mary Petty cover has always been a first thought when summer arrives. The simple quiet moment Ms. Petty gives us during a particularly horrendous moment in history has always fascinated me. This scan doesn’t do justice to Ms. Petty’s watercolors.
Whenever I think of summertime and beaches I think of this Ludwig Bemelmans July 13, 1946 cover. Most will think of Mr. Bemelmans and immediately recall his Madeline books, but his contribution of 32 New Yorker covers was substantial
Here’s a beauty by Anatol Kovarsky from August 2, 1969. If you look through Mr. Kovarsky’s New Yorker covers you’ll see he often returned to aerial views. I’ve always found it amusing that he focused here on the parking lot, with the beach and ocean as supporting players.
Charles Addams’s cover shown below was published the very next week after Mr. Kovarsky’s. It reminds me of the summers during the years I lived in Manhattan, especially the days I headed up to The New Yorker‘s office to drop off my weekly batch of cartoons. The city never seemed hotter, the sidewalks never stickier, the non-air conditioned subway cars never sootier, than on those trips between my apartment in Greenwich Village and 25 West 43rd Street.
There are so many wonderful New Yorker baseball covers, but this one by Garrett Price is a particular favorite.
Finally, this spectacular July 4th 1953 cover by Alajalov.
Here are the Spill’s A-Z entries for each of the above artists.
Mary Petty Born, Hampton, New Jersey, April 29, 1899. Died, Paramus, New Jersey, March, 1976. New Yorker work: October 22, 1927 – March 19, 1966. Collection: This Petty Place ( Knopf, 1945) with a Preface by James Thurber.
Ludwig Bemelmans Born, April 27, 1898. Died, October 1, 1962. New Yorker work: contributed six cartoons and thirty-two covers as well written pieces in a New Yorker career that began in October of 1937 and lasted until August 1962. He achieved lasting fame with his Madeline childrens books.
Anatol Kovarsky (photo: NYC, 2013. By Liza Donnelly) Born, Moscow. Died, June 1, 2016, NYC. Collection: Kovarsky’s World (Knopf, 1956) New Yorker work: 1947 -1969. Link to Ink Spill’s 2013 piece, “Anatol Kovarsky at 94: Still Drawing After All These Years”
Charles Addams Born in Westfield, New Jersey, January 7, 1912. Died September 29, 1988, New York City. New Yorker work: 1932 – 1988 * the New Yorker has published his work posthumously. One of the giants of The New Yorker’s stable of artists. Key cartoon collections: While all of Addams’ collections are worthwhile, here are three that are particular favorites; Homebodies (Simon & Schuster, 1954), The Groaning Board (Simon & Schuster, 1964), Creature Comforts (Simon & Schuster, 1981). In 1991 Knopf published The World of Chas Addams, a retrospective collection. Visit the Addams Foundation website for far more information : http://www.charlesaddams.com/
Garrett Price ( Photo Source: Esquire Cartoon Album, 1957) Born, 1897, Bucyrus, Kansas. Died, April, 1979, Norwalk, Conn. Collection: Drawing Room Only / A Book of Cartoons (Coward -McCann, 1946). New Yorker work: 1925 -1974.
Constantin Alajalov Born Constantin Aladjalov, 1900, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia. Died Oct., 1987, Amenia, New York. New Yorker work: 1926 -1960. Perhaps best known for his New Yorker covers ( he also supplied cover art to other publications). Key collection: Conversation Pieces (The Studio Publications Inc., 1942) w/ commentary by Janet Flanner. A profile from The Saturday Evening Post.