Dana Fradon Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY. Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.
Another in a series of self portraits of New Yorker artists included in the Meet The Artist catalog published by the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1943.
Barbara Shermund’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Barbara Shermund (to the left: a Shermund self portrait) 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)
As most of you know, Gahan Wilson, one of the cartoon world’s greats, has been in need of assistance over this past year. A Go Fund Me effort set up by his step-son, Paul Winters is now back up to help with issues related to Gahan’s most recent difficulties. Read more here, and help if you can.
From Frank Modell’s Library: Introduction To Cartooning By Richard Taylor
Among the signed cartoon books in the Spill‘s library, Frank Modell’s copy of Richard Taylor’s Introduction To Cartooning is a special favorite. It’s the only instructional book in our collection by a New Yorker cartoonist that belonged to a New Yorker cartoonist.
The book was published in 1947, the year after Mr. Modell began his long association with The New Yorker (as well as a contributor, he was, in his earliest years there, assistant to art editor James Geraghty). What you see in Modell’s copy of Taylor’s book is what you see in many a textbook: essential passages underlined, circled, sometimes with arrows pointing out a word or two. Many of the selections go to the heart of what it takes to be career cartoonist. Mr Modell learned his lessons well: he spent over half a century at The New Yorker, contributing well over a thousand drawings, as well as half a dozen covers.
Here are just a few pages from Taylor’s book with Modell’s marked passages.
And a nice surprise at the very end of the book on the inside cover, Modell added some sketches:
Richard Taylor’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Richard Taylor (self portrait from Meet the Artist) Born in Fort William, Ontario, Sept. 18, 1902. Died in 1970. NYer work: 1935 -1967. Collections: The Better Taylors ( Random House, 1944, and a reprint edition by World Publishing, 1945), Richard Taylor’s Wrong Bag (Simon & Schuster, 1961). Taylor also authored Introduction to Cartooning ( Watson-Guptill, 1947). From Taylor’s introduction: the “book is not intended to be a ‘course in cartooning’…instead, it attempts to outline a plan of study — something to be kept at the elbow to steer by.”
Frank Modell’s entry:
Frank ModellBorn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1917. Died, May 27, 2016, Guilford, Connecticut. New Yorker work: 1946–1997. Mr. Modell began his New Yorker career as assistant to the Art Editor, James Geraghty. He soon began contributing his cartoons (and cartoon ideas for others), with his first drawing appearing July 20, 1946. Besides his work for The New Yorker, he was a children’s book author and an actor (he appeared, most notably, in Woody Allen’s 1980 film, Stardust Memories). Key collection: Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! (Dodd, Mead, 1978).
Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery updates us on the grave marker for the great New Yorker artist Barbara Shermund. Read here.
Ms. Shermund’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Barbara Shermund (self portrait, above) 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).
Barbara Shermund : 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)
Ms. Donnelly’s entry on the A-Z
Liza Donnelly : Born, Washington, D.C. New Yorker work: 1982 – Key book: Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005). Edited: Sex & Sensibility: Ten Women Examine the Lunacy of Modern Love…in 200 Cartoons ( Twelve, 2008). Cartoon Marriage ( with Michael Maslin) (Random House, 2009), When Do They Serve the Wine?( Chronicle, 2010). Women On Men (Narrative Library, 2013). Donnelly also wrote and illustrated a popular series of dinosaur books for children ( Dinosaur Day, Dinosaur Beach, Dinosaur Halloween, etc.) all published by Scholastic. She is the CBS News Resident Cartoonist. Website: http://www.lizadonnelly.com
Back in 2009 when I was hunting around for information on Ms. Shermund (in connection with writing my biography of Peter Arno), I visited a library in upstate New York (Kingston, to be exact) that had a decent collection of The New York Times on microfilm. Looking through a file cabinet of materials I spotted a notation that indicated there was no microfilm for the Times at a certain point because the paper had been on strike. Barbara Shermund’s death was within that period (The New Yorker hadn’t mentioned her passing either, but In that case it was understandable — her work hadn’t appeared in the magazine for thirty-four years). In an attempt to fill in a missing piece, I took a stab at writing an obit for Ms. Shermund and posted it on the Spill:
Revisiting Barbara Shermund
Barbara Shermund, who died in early September, 1978, had the
misfortune of passing away during a newspaper strike that affected the
paper of record, The New York Times. An extensive search has
turned up just one obituary for her, a four sentence notice that ran in a
newspaper covering the New Jersey coastal town (Sea Bright) where she
lived for a number of years toward the end of her life.
For someone who contributed hundreds of cartoons and eight covers to The New YorkerMagazine, then went on to become a mainstay at Esquire, four sentences seems a bit slight. Here then is another notice, a little late, and a little longer.
Born in San Francisco in 1899 to artistic parents (her father was an
architect), Ms. Shermund studied at The California School of Fine Arts
before heading east, at the age of twenty-six, to New York. She told Colliers
that her initial visit east became permanent “after she had eaten up
her return fare.” In June of that very year, she made her debut at the
four month old New Yorker with a cover of a young woman
sporting a hip hairdo, eyes closed, resting her arm over a railing,
against a black sky peppered with stars. In a year’s time her cartoons,
many if not most of which were written by her, were appearing in nearly
every issue of the magazine.
Her style had a sway to it that fit the times. Her subjects, executed
in pen and ink and wash, were often hip young women, just a bit jaded –
the sort that famously inhabited F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. She once offered up this brief glimpse into her private life, saying she liked “fancy dancing and dogs.”
Liza Donnelly, author of Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and their Cartoons, had this to say about Ms. Shermund:
“Barbara Shermund was one of the more prolific cartoonists of the early New Yorker.
Her breezy drawing style and humor reflected the new attitudes of urban
women in the twenties and thirties, and she can be considered one of
the early feminist cartoonists. The New Yorker sought to appeal
to both men and women with its humor, and Shermund, along with other
women cartoonists of the magazine, were ground breakers in that regard,
creating cartoons from a woman’s perspective that could be enjoyed by
all. Her cartoons were irreverent, sassy, and a true reflection of her
Shermund traveled widely – Donnelly wrote of her that “she was
something of a wanderer, living with friends in the city and the upstate
town of Woodstock [NY], never really having a set address.” Eventually
she settled down in Sea Bright, New Jersey, a barrier beach town, just
about an hour’s drive from New York.
The last of her five hundred and ninety-seven drawings in The New Yorker appeared September 16, 1944; her last cover appeared August 5, 1944. Although her relationship with The New Yorker fizzled in the mid 1940s, she participated in an Irving Penn group photo of eighteen New Yorker
cartoonists ( it ran in the August 1947 issue of Vogue). Ms. Shermund,
dressed in dark clothing and wearing a great wide brimmed hat, stares
directly at the camera. Sitting directly in front of her is George
Price, and Steinberg; overhead, reclining on a platform is Charles
Addams. Off to Ms. Shermund’s right is Helen Hokinson, looking just a
The discs accompanying The Complete New Yorker allow one to see all of Barbara Shermund’s work in their natural habitat. Nine of her drawings appear in the The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, and of course all of her work can be seen on the discs accompanying the book.
Here’s Ms. Shermund’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Barbara Shermund 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 later. 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)