Helen Hokinson on A Case For Pencils; A “New” Cartoonist from 1999; Swann Galleries New Yorker Cartoon Offerings

Jane Mattimoe’s latest Case For Pencils post features the late very great Helen Hokinson. Take a look!

Ms. Hokinson’s entry on Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:

Helen Hokinson (above) Born, Illinois,1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956)

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This morning while revisiting Thomas Kunkel’s Man In Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker (Random House, 2015), I came across a passage about  former New Yorker editor, Robert Gottlieb speaking of his meetings with Mr. Mitchell. The source of the quote led me to the 1999  New Yorker anniversary issue (with an Edward Sorel cover. Eustace Tilley was relegated to a small box on the advertising flap partially obscuring the cover) where Mark Singer’s “Joe Mitchell’s Secret” appears.  On the way to Mr. Singer’s piece I came upon a cartoon by a cartoonist that somehow missed my attention while compiling Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:   Ham Khan.

This is the first and only appearance (at this date) by Ham Khan in the magazine. The number of new cartoonists brought in by Bob Mankoff since he became Cartoon Editor has risen to 129.

Ink Spill will eventually take a close look at how this influx of cartoonists compares to Mr. Mankoff’s predecessors, James Geraghty (1939-1973) and Lee Lorenz (1973-1997).

 

 

 

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The Swann Galleries latest catalog is online.  It’s much fun for those who love original cartoon and cover art from The New Yorker.

Shown here: a gorgeous cover by Arthur Getz.

Mr. Getz’s entry on Ink Spill‘s “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”:

Arthur Getz Born, Passaic, New Jersey, 1913;  died, 1996. NYer work: 1938 -1988. Primarily a cover artist, he had one cartoon published: March 15, 1958. (You might say his career  was a mirror image of George Price’s, who was one of the most prolific cartoonists, with over 1200 published,  and one cover).    According to the official Getz website, he was the most prolific of all New Yorker cover artists, having 213 appear during the fifty years he contributed to the magazine. The official Getz website, containing his biography: www.getzart.com/

 

 

Updike & Roth (John & Arnold)…and Henry Bech

“All cartoonists are geniuses, but Arnold Roth is especially so. The first time I saw a Roth drawing, I was zapped…A superabundant creative spirit surges through a Roth drawing like electricity; the lines sizzle.”

— From John Updike’s introduction  to Poor Arnold’s Almanac (Fantagraphic Books, 1998).

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I’ve been running into Arnold Roth at cartoonist gatherings for about forty years, but it wasn’t until the other day that I heard him mention the covers he created for John Updike’s trio of Bech books, Bech: A Book (published in 1970), Bech Is Back (1982) and Bech at Bay (1998). We continued the subject a few days later over the telephone. Mr. Roth was in his Manhattan studio.

Michael Maslin: Did you ever meet Updike?

Arnold Roth: Yes, we were at  a party on Madison Avenue before they put up all the high rises, and we were on the roof; there are still a few left here and there, with the chimneys. I was up there because I was smoking — which I still do.  Caroline, my wife, appeared with him and he said he was very glad to meet me — I was astonished.

And then, one year we invited him to the National Cartoonists Society Christmas party.  He sat at the president’s table with Mel Lazarus  [creator of the comic strips ‘Momma’ and ‘Miss Peach’]. But I did get to chat with him and I met his wife. But mostly it was done through letters and [laughs] very quick phone calls.

In addition to the three covers I did, I did various other drawings for him…two or three personal Christmas cards.  I was also involved in those very small printings with hand set type…monographs. I did additional drawings for them. I did send him all the original drawings [of the Bech covers] and he was very nice and gracious and accepted them.

[Updike mentions these drawings by Mr. Roth in his Introduction to The World of William Steig, edited by Lee Lorenz. In a list of original art he owned, Mr. Updike wrote: “The originals of watercolors Arnold Roth painted for the jackets of my three books about Henry Bech, also three terrific  ink sketches of Bech that Roth just jotted down, the way you and I would make a quick grocery list.” Also in Mr. Updike’s collection: a Thurber drawing, a Steig drawing, an Arthur Getz New Yorker cover and a caricature by David Levine.  “All of these artworks,” Updike wrote, “cheer me up.”]

AR: One of the monographs reprinted a portion of the Beck book when he goes to Europe for the first time.   I did at least four additional drawings and maybe more.  He sent me a note and he said make sure you draw the four women.  Which I did.   He called me up afterward  and he  said, “I can’t believe it.  You drew all those women perfectly. They are exactly those women.  I don’t know how you do it.”  And I said, “Well, I read your descriptions.” [laughs]

MM: Isn’t that what was partly so attractive about his writing.  Those descriptions really sucked you in.

AR: Absolutely.  It was like watching a movie, every scene raced through that little camera in your brain.

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AR: I tell this story sometimes, like when I give talks in art schools, because people ask about those covers. We lived in Princeton then.  It was a Friday evening. I had my studio in my house, naturally.   The phone rang and it was woman who said, “I’m an art director with Knopf. John Updike has instructed us that he wants you to do a cover for a book that will be coming out, Bech a Book.”  I was honored. We put it in action — I sent him a bunch of drawings — some of them ran on the cover flaps.  About 11 years later,  again — I got a call,  and she said, “We have another Bech book.” [Bech Is Back] So same thing, I did the jacket. Thirteen years after that, the phone rings, the same conversation. I raced down to the kitchen where Caroline was making dinner, and said, “Hey — I have a steady gig.”

MM: I love the progression of the covers — the way he loses his hair.

AR: Well he does age in the stories.  I thought they were wonderful stories.

MM: That first cover, Bech A Book,  was pretty surreal.That figure looks like a thumb or something.

AR: I think there are woman’s faces in the hair if I remember.  I just sent him a collection of drawings.  I don’t like to do sketches.  Because to me it becomes redundant and I feel why not make up a new one. In my hands it would invariably would stiffen up — it’s already been seen and blah blah. On that first book jacket he ran some of the sketches — I just sent him 15 or 20 drawings of Bech, and I said, “Is this okay for what I’m reading?  I think it’s a guy that would look like this.”   He loved them all and asked if they could use the other ones, and I said sure.

The second cover,  I had huge breasts pointed up on the bird, and he asked me  if I could take them down a little. Which I did.  He and I had invented breast reduction.

MM: On the last cover I looked for women, but I didn’t see any.

AR: Because he’s old. I think what I did  — I wouldn’t bet on this — on the last one, I might’ve sent 2 or 3 variations. Usually I didn’t do the finished drawing.  You know — if you like it, send it back and I’ll paint it. But I’m pretty sure I just did finished drawings for that last one and that was the one he chose.

MM: Did you base your drawing of Bech on any one person, or combination of persons — or was he conjured straight out of your imagination?

AR: I would have had in mind any description of Bech’s features mentioned in the text but I made up what you see in the drawings.  All based on any of the descriptive bits and my “feeling” for how such a guy might look. How others react to him, his own considerations of his general appearance, etc.. No Laurence Olivier he. But not Stan Laurel, either. 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

“The New Yorker Family Reunion Panel” at Westport Historical Society; Liana Finck signing A Bintel Brief at MoCCA Arts Fest; Bob Mankoff Book Tour Rolls On

NY-albums

“The New Yorker Family Reunion Panel” featuring children of Golden Age New Yorker artists, Alice Harvey, Perry Barlow, Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz and Whitney Darrow, Jr., Saturday, April 12th at The Westport Historical Society. Also on the panel: the children of James Geraghty, the magazine’s Art Editor from 1939 through 1973.  You can find examples of work by the artists on The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site.

 

 

 

 

 

(photo of The New Yorker Albums by Michael Maslin)

 

 

and…

A Bintel Brief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to secure a copy of Liana Finck‘s soon-to-be-released book, A Bintel Brief, she’ll be at the MoCCA Arts Fest this weekend signing copies.

 

mocca.front.web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and…

bob

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker‘s current Cartoon Editor is on the road promoting his new book, How About Never — Is Never Good for You?  This latest report comes from The Princeton Packet.

Kaamran Hafeez on Using Gag Writers; Westport Historical Society New Yorker Cover Artists Bio Pt.3: Helen Hokinson, Reginald Massie & Arthur Getz

Kaamran HafeezHere’s Kaamran Hafeez, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2010, on using gag writers and co-crediting their work.  The link will take you to his website where you’ll find all sorts of other information (a bio, work for other publications, etc.).

Here’s the link to his work on The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site.

To the left: a Hafeez from The New Yorker February 27, 2012

 

 

And…

 

Here are three more short bios from the Westport Historical Society exhibit, Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport.  My thanks again to the Society for permission to post these on Ink Spill.

Cover Story