Vintage Steig; A Richard Decker Self Portrait & One More Kovarsky!

Vintage Steig

From Mike Lynch’s blog, courtesy of Dick Buchanan’s treasure trove of cartoon art, “William Steig Gag Cartoons 1946 – 1965” — see them all here.  (above: from Look magazine, February 17, 1959).

_____________________________________________________________________

A Richard Decker Self Portrait and One More Kovarsky!

And speaking of Dick Buchanan, an interesting tear sheet containing a Richard Decker self portrait is the subject of today’s Attempted Bloggery post.  See it here (a portion shown above). And while there scroll down to see an auctioned  Anatol Kovarsky drawing, along with commentary by Mr. Kovarsky’s daughter.

Further info__________________________________

Richard Decker’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Richard Decker (pictured above) Born, Philadelphia, Penn. May 6, 1907. Died, November 1, 1988. New Yorker work, 1931 – 1969, over 900 drawings, and four covers.

___________________________________

Anatol Kovarsky’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Anatol Kovarsky (photo above, NYC, 2013. By Liza Donnelly) Born, Moscow. Died, June 1, 2016, NYC. Collection: Kovarsky’s World (Knopf, 1956) NYer work: 1947 -1969. Link to Ink Spill’s  2013 piece, “Anatol Kovarsky at 94: Still Drawing After All These Years”

________________________________

William Steig’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

William Steig (photo above) Born in Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 14, 1907, died in Boston, Mass., Oct. 3, 2003. In a New Yorker career that lasted well over half a century and a publishing history that contains more than a cart load of books, both children’s and otherwise, it’s impossible to sum up Steig’s influence here on Ink Spill. He was among the giants of the New Yorker cartoon world, along with James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Helen Hokinson and Peter Arno. Lee Lorenz’s World of William Steig (Artisan, 1998) is an excellent way to begin exploring Steig’s life and work. New Yorker work: 1930 -2003.

 

 

Anatol Kovarsky Opening Reception Tomorrow at The Society of Illustrators; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; Article of Interest: The New Yorker’s Newsletter Director; Interview of Interest: Chris Ware

Anatol Kovarsky Opening Reception Tomorrow at The Society of Illustrators

You’ve seen the name “Kovarsky” and a whole lot of his work here on the Spill every week for quite some time now as we approached the opening exhibit of his work at the Society of Illustrators.  Well, the show is up, and tomorrow evening is the opening reception (it’s open to the public). 

For anyone interested in seeing New Yorker cartoons and covers from its Golden Age up close and personal, this is where you should be tomorrow evening. An inspiring exhibit. 

All the info here.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated

  The CC boys, “Max” & “Simon” are back with a look at all the cartoons in the latest issue of The New Yorker (January 15th).  Perhaps it’s worth noting that there is no other place on the internet (or off) that does what they do.

 ______________________________________________________________________

Article of Interest: The New Yorker’s Newsletter Director, Dan Oshinsky

From Niemanlab, January 10, 2018, ” With its newsletter director, The New Yorker wants to experiment with standalone and international-focused product” — an article about Dan Oshinsky…with New Yorker cartoon content.  Read it here.  

______________________________________________________________________

Book of Interest: Chris Ware’s “Monograph”

From Chicago Magazine, January 10, 2018, “Chris Ware on Monograph, His Creative Process, and the False Urban-Suburban Dichotomy” — whew, what a headline!  An interview with Mr. Ware.  Read it here.

Walking Tour of Interest: Library of Congress’s “Drawn To Purpose”; Exhibit of Interest: Shannon Wheeler; Kovarsky Opening Reception at the Society of Illustrators, Friday, Jan. 12!

From Comics DC, January 9, 2018, “Touring the LoC’s Drawn  to Purpose exhibit with curator Martha Kennedy” — an interesting walk through with Mike Rhode. Among the New Yorker contributors mentioned: Barbara Shermund, Roberta MacDonald, Liza Donnelly, Roz Chast, Helen Hokinson, and Alice Harvey. Read it here.

Link to the Library of Congress’s page here.

________________________________________________________________________________

Exhibit of Interest: Shannon Wheeler

From Bleeding Cool. January 9, 2018, “Shannon Wheeler’s Exhibition of Trump Cartoons, Across From Mar-A-Lago

___________________________________________________________________

A Reminder: The Opening Reception for the Society of Illustrator’s exhibit “Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker” is this Friday, January 12thDetails here.  

More Unseen Kovarsky: Mike Lynch has posted a number of previously unpublished work by Mr. Kovarsky.  See it here!

 

 

Tilley Watch Online; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind; A Reminder: Kovarsky Exhibit Now Up & Running at The Society of Illustrators

Tilley Watch Online

New Yorker cartoonists doing the Daily cartoon this week: Jeremy Nguyen (a new book rains down), David Sipress (dressing well for the cold), Kim Warp (big button stuff), and Brendan Loper (back in time, politically).

This week’s Daily Shouts New Yorker cartoonists: Tom Chitty (“Why You Shouldn’t Go Outside Today”),  Julia Wertz (“Conversations with Ma: Harry Potter and the Internet”), and Jason Adam Katzenstein & Phil McAndrew (“Mistakes You’re Going to Keep Making Forever”)

___________________________________________________________________________________

Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion

Cartoons appearing in the issue of January 8th ’18, go under the microscope in this latest edition of the Cartoon Companion. See it here!

___________________________________________________________________________________

Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind

A fascinating and relaxed stroll through the issue of November 24, 1928. What fun it is, this blog. Read it here.

___________________________________________________________________

And a Reminder: Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker

The Anatol Kovarsky exhibit at The Society of Illustrators is now open.   Go see!

Info here

 

 

A Special Ink Spill “Kovarsky Wednesday”: Anatol Kovarsky’s Russia

 Since this past Fall, Wednesdays here at the Spill have been referred to as “Kovarsky Wednesdays” as we’ve posted some of the late great artist’s unpublished cartoons and cover art (Mr. Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina refers to them as “sketches and preliminary forms of ideas for covers”).  All of this work is in celebration of Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From The New Yorker, an exhibit opening tomorrow at the Society of Illustrators, with a special reception on January 12th.

Though long an admirer of Mr. Kovarsky’s work for The New Yorker, seeing these unpublished pieces over the past few months has deepened my respect for the energy and enthusiasm with which he lived his art. From what I’ve learned of him, from meeting him, reading about him, speaking about him with his family, he was always working.  And what work! The show is a must-see. 

In celebration of tomorrow’s opening, the Kovarsky family has generously provided us with three proposed cover pieces specifically related to Mr. Kovarsky’s Russian heritage. In addition, we are indeed fortunate and thankful that Gina has contributed the following piece, expanding our understanding and appreciation of her father and his beautiful work.

Since 2017 marked the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, I thought I would share a few details about how it affected my father Anatol Kovarsky’s life.  He was born into a prosperous and assimilated Russian-Jewish household in Moscow in 1919.  But the social and political unrest that came in the wake of the Revolution put his family at risk.  His father was arrested by the Soviet secret police and jailed in 1923 or 1924.  When he was released three months later, Anatol’s parents understood that they had to leave home and took him south to Crimea, then onward to Warsaw. They remained in Poland until WWII, when they were once again forced to leave everything behind. (His parents and sister survived the war in France; Anatol was able to leave Europe for the U.S., later joining the army and returning to Europe as a U.S. serviceman.)

My father was about 4 or 5 when he and his parents left the Soviet Union, but he remained fluent in Russian until the end of his life and never lost his identification with the Russian part of his heritage.  In the early 1960s, at a time when the Soviet regime had inaugurated a policy of greater openness to the West, my father made several sketches for a proposed New Yorker cover depicting American tourists on Red Square.  The presence of Western tourists in the heart of Moscow would have seemed positively incongruous to him, given how unimaginable that type of travel had been for decades.  History, a supreme ironist, was offering a corrective to misplaced certainties. 

Anatol took heart at the gradual resumption of ordinary tourism after Stalin’s death, regarding this as a positive sign that a new era of peaceful coexistence was at hand.  It meant a great deal to him that he was able to travel to the USSR in 1979, and that on subsequent visits in 1989 and 1990, he could observe first-hand the remarkable changes that led to the regime’s collapse in 1991.  He aptly noted that we were witnessing a “revolving revolution,” but the new banners were advertising Pepsi and McDonald’s instead of calling upon the proletariat to unite. 

In these cover ideas, my father manages to poke fun simultaneously at both the Soviet and the Western (capitalist) ideological orientations.  The sketches comment ironically on the waning relevance of Communist ideals, by minimizing the presence of Communist emblems: in the first sketch, the star above the modern hotel in the background is rendered not in red, but in grey wash to fade into the background.   But the humor also derives from Anatol’s portrayal of the consumption-oriented perspective of the “bourgeois” visitors with their cameras and, in the second sketch, also of the home movie audience.  There are two focal points in the movie: St. Basil’s with its colorful onion domes, and also the woman in the colorful hat.   By providing the woman with her own bright “dome,” my father creates a visual parallel, cueing us to realize that in the husband’s eyes both objects in the viewfinder are of equal importance.  Or is it the American woman’s presence on Red Square that’s the key element, to mark the spot, as if to state, “we were here” and also perhaps, “look at us!”   (What would Dad have made of the ubiquitous selfie?)

  

Anatol’s earliest memory was of the circus in the resort town of Yalta in Crimea, when he was around the age of 3 or 4.  He remained forever enamored of the circus, to the point where he even had a special pass to sketch the performers and animals up close at the old Madison Square Garden (he remembered once getting too close to a lion and being chased away by the personnel).  During the 1960s, the Moscow Circus was a special favorite of New York audiences, and I remember going with my parents several times. Among my favorite paintings by my father are ones he did of the Russian circus horses and their daredevil riders. 

 

–Gina Kovarsky

Dec. 30, 2017

(Please note that all work by Mr. Kovarsky posted here on Ink Spill is copyright the Estate of Anatol Kovarsky)