Fave Photo Of The Day: Liza Donnelly; Graphic Piece Of Interest: Liana Finck; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist Is Jason Adam Katzenstein

Last night, Liza Donnelly spoke at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum as part of the big Barbara Shermund celebration there. Above: Donnelly’s selfie with a Shermund self portrait.

The exhibit, Tell Me A Story Where The Bad Girl Wins: The Life And Art Of Barbara Shermund runs through March 31st. If you’re out that way, this is a fabulous must see exhibit of work by one of the very best of the New Yorker‘s early contributors.

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.

The four sentence obit: a bit slight.

For someone who contributed hundreds of cartoons and eight covers to The New Yorker Magazine, 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 times.”

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 little apprehensive.

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)

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Graphic Piece Of Interest: Liana Finck

From The New York Times, February 8, 2019, “Liana Finck’s Illustrated Tribute to Isak Dinesen”

— an early look at Ms. Finck’s piece that will appear in print on Sunday

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Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoon

Today’s Daily cartoon (political, but of course) is by Jason Adam Katzenstein, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2014. See more of his work here.

More On Barbara Shermund; New Yorker Cartoon Collection Of Interest: Ice Breakers; Today’s Daily Cartoon & A Daily Bonus Cartoon; A Podcast Of Interest

Shermund’s rough sketch for her New Yorker cover of March 18, 1939


From The Comics Beat, February 4, 2019, “Caitlin McGurk on Long Lost Artist Barbara Shermund and Telling A Story Where The Bad Girl Wins”— more on The late great New Yorker artist Barbara Shermund who is currently being celebrated out at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in Ohio.

And a reminder: Liza Donnelly will be speaking about Ms. Shermund at Billy Ireland this Thursday. Info here.

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New Yorker Cartoon Collection of Interest: Ice Breakers : A New Yorker Book of Cartoons

The above cover caught my attention when posted on Stephen Nadler’s Attempted Bloggery the other day. There are a lot — a whole lot — of custom New Yorker cartoon collections out there but this one, published in 2005, is as Mr. Nadler notes, slightly different than the others. Read about it here.

Below: The Index Of Artists from Ice Breakers, courtesy of Attempted Bloggery. Usually these Indexes are accurate, but this one has at least one omission (it’s missing one cartoonist — alright, it’s me –whose work is included). When I get hold of a copy I’ll dig into it and see if there are any more).

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Today’s Daily Cartoon

Today’s Daily Cartoon: a political drinking game by Chris Weyant. Mr. Weyant began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. Link to his website here.

And a bonus Daily cartoon, with a Warholian State of The Union momentby Barry Blitt, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1992. Link to his website here.

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A Podcast of Interest

Emily Flake, a New Yorker contributor since 2008, is a guest on this new-to-me podcast. Listen as she talks about all sorts of New Yorker cartoonisty things. You can find the podcast on Twitter:

@DEricpodcast

Link here to Ms. Flake’s website.

Liza Donnelly To Speak On Barbara Shermund At The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

On February 7th, Liza Donnelly will speak at Ohio’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum about Barbara Shermund, a major contributor of cartoons during The New Yorker’s early years. Details here.

Here’s Ms. Shermund’s entry on The Spill‘s A-Z:

Barbara Shermund (self portrait, to the left) 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)

Advertising Work by New Yorker Cartoonists, Pt. 27: Frank Beaven; Tilley Watch Online

If you search for Frank Beaven online (as I recently have) a variety of work shows up, from “girlie” magazine covers to advertising work to New Yorker appearances (he contributed 15 cartoons to the magazine between 1933 and 1946). Here’s a slight auto-biographical piece and self-portrait he contributed to the 1941 collection, Colliers Collects Its Wits. Below that are three ads by Mr. Beaven, all courtesy of Warren Bernard: Eveready (1943), Zippo (1946), and  B.F. Goodrich (1946).

Below: another Eveready ad from the website, Hairy Green Eyeball, where you can find a nice collection of more Eveready ads by Mr. Beaven as well as by various cartoonists. 

Below:  another Zippo ad (from 1942) This one from a Zippo-centric website.

Another auto-biographical piece and self-portrait, along with a New Yorker drawing ( it appeared in the issue of March 13, 1943) from the Best Cartoons of the Year 1943:

More info:

  1. Here’s Mr. Beaven’s entry on the Spill’s A-Z: Franklin (Frank) Beaven Born, Lebanon, Indiana, c.1905. Died Allendale, New Jersey, 1975. New Yorker work: May 20, 1933 – March 2, 1946. Beaven also wrote articles for the old Life , and Judge. Besides The New Yorker, his cartoons appeared in Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Country Gentleman, and others.

2. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum posted this piece about Mr. Beaven back in 2012.

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…this week’s Daily cartoon featured a senator’s eye exam (executed by David Sipress), fallen dynamos, uh, I mean dominoes courtesy of Kim Warp; a plugged-in Little Mermaid by Jeremy Nguyen; an axe-wielding President by Peter Kuper, and headlines in the morning news(paper) from Kim Warp. Daily Shouts pieces included two cartoon colleagues: Colin Tom (“Trump’s Desert-Island Sand Trap”) and Ellis Rosen (“Make Your Own G.O.P. Tax Bill”).    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Ireland Opens Its Archives, Digitally

 

 

 

 

Just announced: Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library  & Museum has put its original art and book holdings online.  This is no small thing as they have over 200,000 items in their collection.

I noted in the Museum’s description of their holdings (below, in pink) that single panel cartoons (such as those found most famously in The New Yorker) aren’t mentioned, but they are certainly there, including the recently donated works of Jack Ziegler. 

MCA’s collection consists of approximately 200,000 items, including 83,214 original drawings from all genres of cartoon art (comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial, advertising, sport, caricature, greeting cards, graphic novels, and illustrations)…

  A Finding Aid is promised soon, which will make searching less of a guessing game as to who is included in their collection (of course, that game can be fun). Also searchable are their book holdings. I’ve shown a partial screen grab of what turned up when I searched in “Art” for Peter Arno. You’ll find links to both “Art” and “Books” by going here.

Congratulations and thanks to the Museum for providing us with this wonderfully exciting resource.