Today’s Daily Cartoon & Daily Shouts Cartoonist; Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

A Hamburglar cartoon by Farley Katz, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2007. Mr. Katz has also contributed today’s Daily Shouts.

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Recalling A New Yorker Giant: Charles Saxon

Over this past weekend a number of visiting colleagues paused to look at a Charles Saxon original drawing that hangs on a wall here at Spill headquarters. The Saxon drawing is displayed because it amuses and inspires (the same goes for the several dozen others also on our walls by various New Yorker artists past and present; the earliest drawing, by Alice Harvey, was published October of 1925, the most recent, by Ed Steed, was published in April of 2019). Saxon’s drawings have long been considered a high bar by his peers — a reminder of how elegant (a word used by one of the visitors) cartoon art can be (I’ve always felt Thurber’s drawings to be another kind of high bar).

Looking closely at the originals in the Spill‘s archives, I see no under -drawing, no pencil marks. The work, in grease pencil(?), appears to be in the school of — as Edward Sorel would describe it — direct drawing.  The lines seem effortless, energetic, lovely, and of course, humorous; it’s an immediately identifiable style. As with so many of his contemporaries, including Robert Weber, Lee Lorenz, James Stevenson and Frank Modell, there’s a joy to the work.

Saxon’s world, both New Yorker covers and cartoons, published from the mid 1940s through the late 1980s, will forever be linked to Connecticut country club country, where he lived (Mr. Saxon, along with his colleague William Hamilton, had that upper-crusty world down). The New Yorker readership from that social strata apparently loved seeing themselves poked and prodded, just as they loved what Peter Arno had done with them and to them in the magazine’s earlier decades. 

Right: a Saxon New Yorker cover: effortless, energetic, humorous

I was fortunate enough to meet Saxon in February of 1986, when New Yorker cover artist Roxie Munro threw a small post-New Yorker anniversary party. Trudging downtown from the Pierre Hotel to Ms. Munro’s mid-town apartment on lower Park Avenue, I was one of the first to arrive. Walking into the living room I found a short man, in dark suit and tie, standing with his back against a living room wall. I introduced myself, not knowing who I was about to shake hands with. I had always imagined Saxon as quite tall — a powerhouse figure. In truth, he was perhaps a half-foot shorter than me. He was also remarkably soft spoken, and extremely polite. I’d always expected that he’d have one of those personalities that would roll right over me. It was quite a nice gift, to able to have perhaps fifteen minutes with this cartoon god, all to myself. 

 

Photo: Charles Saxon, center, with The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, James Geraghty at the magazine’s offices, 25 West 43rd Street, New York City, c.1960s.  Photo courtesy of Sarah Geraghty Herndon.

Book: Oh, happy, happy, happy!  The earliest Saxon collection, published in 1960 by Golden Press.

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill; Tom Chitty Has A Question; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Christopher Weyant; More Steinberg; Today’s Daily Shouts By…Seth Fleishman

Frank Modell’s Brendan Gill

I came away from a recent visit to my favorite (used) book store, Rodgers Book Barn in Hillsdale, New York with the brochure handed out at Brendan Gill’s memorial back in 1998 (see the details of the tribute below). I’m indebted to one of my book store haunting friends, Mark Burns for digging the brochure out of a box of ephemera and placing it right in front of my face (for the record, my other co-haunters were Danny Shanahan and John Cuneo). Frank Modell’s drawing of an exuberant Brendan Gill was new to me, and an obvious must-have, must-buy. 

For more on Mr. Gill, I highly recommend his oft-reprinted Here At The New Yorker (the William Heinemann 1990 edition shown below)And for more on Mr. Modell there’s his collection Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! as well as James Stevenson’s terrific The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell.

Further Reading: An earlier Spill piece on cartoonists and Rodgers Book Barn.

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Tom Chitty Has A Question

From Jane Mattimoe’s  fine Fine Case For Pencils, “Tom Chitty Has A Question About Dip Pens”

Mr. Chitty began contributing to The New Yorker in 2014.  Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

The lack of White House press briefings has been in the news. Chris Weyant comments via a castle cartoon.  Mr. Weyant has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1998. Visit his website here.

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More Steinberg

From The Brooklyn Rail, “Saul Steinberg: Untitled” 

Comments on the Steinberg exhibit currently showing at Totah (til April 28th — hurry!)

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Today’s Daily Shouts by…Seth Fleishman

A fish story from Seth Fleishman who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016. See some of his work here on the New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site.

 

 

A New Yorker State Of Mind: James Thurber’s Art Debuts In The New Yorker; Two New Yorker Cartoonists Cover Cold Comfort Farm; Karl Stevens at The Gardner Museum; Today’s New Yorker Daily Cartoonist: Barry Blitt

The must-read blog, A New Yorker State of Mind on the debut of Thurber art in The New Yorker.  Read here.

… And as the subject is Thurber New Yorker firsts, here are others:

Thurber’s New Yorker debut, in the issue of February 26, 1927: two pieces of verse.  The first,  Villanelle Of Horatio Street, Manhattan (19 lines, signed James Grover Thurber); the second, Street Song (10 lines, signed J .G. T.)

Thurber’s first cartoon appeared  in the issue of January 3, 1931, “Take a good look at these fellows, Tony, so you’ll remember ’em next time.” 

Thurber’s first cover: February 29, 1936.

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Covering Cold Comfort Farm: Saxon & Chast

Two New Yorker cartoonists on the cover of the same title: how often does that happen? I’ve never seen it before (if anyone can come up with another duo please forward*).  In this case we see Charles Saxon’s art on the cover of Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort Farm, published in 1964, and on the right, Roz Chast’s cover art in 2006.

*Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery has brought to my attention my own piece concerning three New Yorker artists (Addams, Steig, and Modell) covering Brendan Gill’s Here At The New Yorker.

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Karl Stevens At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

From artnet.com, February 27, 2019, “Botticelli’s Beauties Meet Contemporary Cartoons at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — See Works From the Show Here” — this piece on newbie New Yorker cartoonist Karl Stevens’ work at the above mentioned museum. Mr. Stevens first New Yorker cartoon appeared in the issue of  January 21, 2019.  Link here for more of his work.

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Today’s Daily Cartoon

Today’s Daily cartoon, Trumpish, of course, is by Barry Blitt. Mr. Blitt began contributing to the New Yorker in 1994. Link here to his website.

Auction Of Interest: Peter Arno, William Steig, Arnie Levin, Charles Addams, Frank Modell, Charles Saxon, And More

Thanks to Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery for alerting the Spill to the new Swann catalog, which contains an abundance of New Yorker art.  A highlight, shown above, is Peter Arno’s New Yorker cover of April 4, 1964. Here’s what it looked like as the published cover:

Other New Yorker work offered by Charles Addams, William Steig, Charles Barsotti, Arnie Levin, Richard Decker, Frank Modell, James Daugherty (aka “Jimmie-the-Ink”), Heidi Goennel, Garrett Price, Mischa Richter, Charles Saxon, George Price, Theodore Haupt, Arthur Getz, R.O. Blechman and the King of the Gagwriters, Richard McCallister. Empty the piggy bank!

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of June 18, 1984

As mentioned here last week, it’s double issue time again. We’re halfway though it now ; only a week til the new issue (dated June 18, 2018) appears online early Monday morning. Just for fun I thought I’d go back to another June 18th issue — the one from 1984. 

Here’s the cover, by Susan Davis, who contributed fifteen covers to the magazine from 1983 – 1992.

 

And here are the cartoonists in that issue:

A number of New Yorker cartoon gods in that lineup. And, as you might expect, some cartoonists  contributing to the magazine then who still contribute now. On the downside, a number of colleagues who’ve passed on: George Price, James Stevenson, William Steig, Stan Hunt, J. B. Handelsman, Steinberg, Bernie Schoenbaum, Frank Modell, Barney Tobey, Ed Arno, Mischa Richter, Ed Fisher, Eldon Dedini, and Robert Weber.

A quick tour through the issue: Ed Frascino has a very funny cartoon name-checking Indiana Jones; Lee Lorenz ( the art editor at the time) puts the word “glitz” to excellent use; a half page George Price cartoon centered on the Year of the Rat; a beautiful full page Saxon drawing about the Museum of Modern Art; a four part Stevenson spread across two pages. He animates television antenna; a titled Steig: “Eastbound Traffic.” Great drawing!;  Stan Hunt’s drawing is one of those cartoons that could’ve run anytime in the previous thirty years (previous to 1984, that is) — a boiler plate kind of cartoon; “Bud” Handelsman gives us a heaven-based piece; a Roz Chast drawing split into four boxes. It could’ve run this year; an Ed Koren drawing that just is so like butter — drawing and caption;  Steinberg provides an illustration for a Profile piece by E.J. Kahn, Jr.; opposite Steinberg is a Bernie Schoenbaum cocktail party drawing — a scenario employed by nearly every cartoonist back then; a Frank Modell drawing with his signature people — love his grumpy husband; an Arnie Levin caterpillar/butterfly drawing — that that loose Levin line is so great; a Barney Tobey drawing set in another favorite situation: the boardroom; a great Warren Miller drawing:

 Following Mr. Miller’s cartoon is an Ed Arno drawing — that fine controlled line of his! Immediately identifiable; a Mischa Richter dog at a desk drawing; Ed Fisher gives us a weather bureau drawing with lots of fun detail; Eldon Dedini’s cartoon of two guys at a bar with a caption that could run today:Everything’s a trap if you’re not careful.”;  next up, a cartoon that made me laugh out loud, by the great cartoonist, Robert Weber:

Next, a beautiful Sempe drawing (is there any other kind?); and last, a Sidney Harris restaurant drawing. Mr. Harris’s style is his and his alone: an angular line that appears to almost spin out of control, but never does.

So, there it is. A cartoon feast in mid-June, thirty-four years ago.