81 Years Ago in The New Yorker

Just for the heck of it, I’ve taken a bound volume of The New Yorker off the shelf, and opened it up to the issue dated May 23, 1936. The cover is  by Perry Barlow. The cover’s colors are supplied by Mr. Barlow’s wife, Dorothy Hope, as Mr. Barlow was partly color-blind.  The festive cover moment doesn’t hint at all of what’s going on in the world (specifically Nazi Germany); you need only wait til you get to Notes and Comment in The Talk of The Town for that:

“…Truth stays up all night, and that something keeps flickering in the world while Ministers of Propaganda snooze.”

Continuing on into the body of the magazine, and focusing on the cartoons (I apologize for not showing all the cartoons — I don’t want to tax the patience of the New Yorker‘s rights & permissions person), we come to a Richard Decker that swallows up the page graphically, and opposite it a very Charles Addams-like  Richard Taylor cartoon (shown here). 

An un-pc  Robert Day jungle cartoon follows, and following that a beautiful (of course!) Peter Arno drawing of a cafe scene with a young pretty woman shouting into an old gent’s hearing aid, “I say I hate the city, Mr. Gromer! I love everything in the fields! Everything that’s growing! Everything that’s wild!”

Next up is a rarity (shown below): one of only three cartoons  — and the last of the three –the artist Adolf Dehn contributed to the magazine. Here’s his A-Z entry:

Adolf Dehn  Born, Minnesota, Nov. 22, 1895; died, New York City, May 19. 1968. Primarily a lithographer, Dehn’s work is said to be collected by 20 museums, including The Smithsonian and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. NYer work: three drawings, Sept. 6. 1930; June 15, 1935; May 23, 1936. A bio from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art: www.sama-art.org/info/publications/catalog/dehn_cat/dehn_text.html

This is followed by a full page Carl Rose drawing titled: Strange Events Of An Election Year.  A few pages later is a large drawing by Alan Dunn (one of the most published New Yorker cartoonists of all-time, right up there with Lee Lorenz and William Steig). Next are drawings by Richard Decker and Mr. Barlow (the same fellow responsible for the cover). The following page is a very very funny Mary Petty drawing (shown):

One page later: a beautiful James Thurber  drawing, with tennis as the topic. Next up, a drawing by Ned Hilton (someone whose work doesn’t get much attention these days, although Mike Lynch did post a Hilton drawing the other day and mentioned Mr. Hilton’s interesting signature).

 

A number of pages later we come to a quarter-page Helen Hokinson drawing of a woman trying on a new hat. The saleswoman is saying: “You mustn’t think of it in New York, Mrs. Brewster. Think of it in Lenox.”

 

And last:  Alain, with  a caption-less drawing (shown):

Not a bad collection of artists and art in one issue: Barlow, Hokinson, Thurber, Arno, Alain, Robert Day, Ned Hilton, Richard Decker, Alan Dunn, Mary Petty, and a bonus  —  the rare Adolf Dehn drawing. Two full pages, and several more nearly full. 

The spot drawings are pretty great too, including this one:

 

 

Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories Ink Spill Podcast

gil-roth-in-our-kitchen-sept-2016From the Department of Self-Promotion:

Gil Roth (shown standing in our kitchen last week) has an awful lot of cartoonists on his podcast,Virtual Memories. He visited recently to tape two more (with Liza Donnelly and myself).  The interview with Ms. Donnelly will show up a few Tuesdays from now, but in the meantime you can hear Gil grill me here.

A Reminder: There’s A Mary Petty Exhibit Happening in Pensacola

MPI was reminded today while reading an article that there is right this very moment an exhibit of Mary Petty’s work at the Pensacola Museum of Art. Here’s a link.

Shown here is my favorite cover of hers (I’ve no idea if it’s in the exhibit), and one of my favorite New Yorker covers of all-time (let’s say it’s in the top 100).

In that issue of August 4, 1945 are two cartoons by Ms. Petty’s husband, Alan Dunn as well as two by the great Helen Hokinson. Also in the issue are drawings by: Steinberg, Robert Day (a full page!), Whitney Darrow, Jr., Otto Soglow, Julian de Misky (a sequential drawing running over the gutter and onto the following page), Eric Ericson, Sam Cobean, Charles Addams, Garrett Price, Perry Barlow, and Chon Day. For anyone interested in why this era was called the golden age of New Yorker cartooning, seek out and enjoy the artistry of these contributors. (it’s available to New Yorker subscribers online; it’s also available on  the Complete New Yorker, and any library still holding bound New Yorkers).   

 

Fifty Years Ago this week in The New Yorker…the Cartoons & Cartoonists

From time-to-time Ink Spill looks way way back at The New Yorker’s cartoon universe. Today, we’ll drop in on the issue dated fifty years ago, July 30, 1966 and take a brief look around at the cartoons and cartoonists within. In 1966, William Shawn was in his 14th year as editor of The New Yorker; the Art Editor, James Geraghty, was in his 27th year (back then the Art Editor was responsible for all aspects of the magazine’s art: the spot drawings, the covers and the cartoons).

 

Reilly 1st cover 

 

 

The cover — a beauty — was by Donald Reilly. It was the first of Mr. Reilly’s sixteen covers for the magazine (his last, Feb 10, 1992). Though sixteen covers is impressive, even more impressive are the thousand-plus cartoons he contributed during his time at the magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s his Ink Spill “A-Z” entry:

DR A-Z


 

The Table of Contents back then looked like this (readers were left on their own to identify the cartoonists and the contributors to the Talk of The Town):

TOC Aug 1, '66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cartoonists in the issue: Whitney Darrow, Jr., William Steig, Saul Steinberg, Joseph Mirachi, James Stevenson, Donald Reilly, Charles Saxon, Frank Modell, Alan Dunn, Robert Day, Warren Miller, Stan Hunt, and Mischa Richter

 

A deep, albeit all-male, bench of talent.  This New Yorker Cartoonists Hall of Fame line-up doesn’t even include a number of the other regular contributors of the time including Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Syd Hoff, Dana Fradon, Al Ross, Barney Tobey, Robert Weber, Edward Koren, Lee Lorenz, and many more (the work of the great George Price, that master of the quirky split-line is represented in a ¾ page drawing for Iberia Airlines).

 

The newest addition to The New Yorker’s stable in this issue was Warren Miller, whose first cartoon appeared in the magazine in 1959. The most senior cartoonist was the aforementioned Mr. Dunn. His work first appeared in The New Yorker in 1926.

 

Of particular note is the six page spread “Come to Britain” by Charles Saxon. We don’t see spreads like this in the magazine anymore – at least on the somewhat regular basis they once appeared. Generally speaking – or even specifically speaking — cartoon spreads are history (A Roz Chast spread in 2014 comes to mind, but it was a bird of a different feather as it was an excerpt from her forthcoming book and not a spread created for the magazine).

 

What to make of The New Yorker’s cartoon culture fifty years ago: the magazine was seven to eight years away from the end of Geraghty’s long run as art editor (Lee Lorenz was his successor). Although the Geraghty era is sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of New Yorker cartooning – it’s tough to argue it wasn’t –I believe the Golden Age extended beyond Geraghty and into Lorenz’s years as well. Geraghty presided over an amazing collection of cartoon worlds: a mix of veterans, and stellar new additions like Edward Koren, who began contributing in 1962, Henry Martin who began in 1964, and William Hamilton, whose first drawing was published in 1965.

 

When I think of this era of the magazine I’m reminded of something William Shawn wrote for Brendan Gill’s Here at The New Yorker. In the piece, which was headed “Shawn on Ross” [Harold Ross, the magazine’s founder and first editor]:

 

“It was certainly not the least of Ross’s talents that he was able to see talent in writers and artists before it was plainly visible to everyone. Also, he understood that talent developed more slowly in some than others, and he was willing to wait. He gradually learned that the primary function of the magazine’s editor, including him, was to create a structure and an atmosphere – a little world apart from the world – within the writers and artists could fulfill themselves.”

 

Creating that “structure and atmosphere” was, I believe, the secret sauce of The New Yorker. It gave us, the readers, the opportunity to enjoy the worlds these artists found their way into.    

 

The New Yorker 1955- 1965 Album is an excellent cartoon collection gathering work by all these artists (it’s available for a song on ABEbooks.com).

 NYer Album 55-65back cover Album

 

 

 

New Jersey’s New Yorkers…an Ink Spill Map

Here’s a look at Garden State born New Yorker contributors (including its current editor) as well as New Yorker contributors (all cartoonists) not Jersey born, but currently living there. Also included: New Yorker contributors who, though not native-born,  grew up there and/or lived there for a good while. If anyone out there has others I’ve missed (and I’m sure I have) please contact me. (click on the map to enlarge).

NJNY 12