Film Of Interest: Wes Anderson’s New Yorker-ish “The French Dispatch”; Video Of Interest: Liza Donnelly On Oscar’s Red Carpet; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon (And Yesterday’s); New York Times Piece Of Interest: Tina Brown

Film Of Interest: Wes Anderson’s New Yorker-ish “The French Dispatch”

From The New Yorker‘s Culture Desk, February 11, 2020,  “A Look At Wes Anderson’s New, New Yorker-Inspired Film” this should be fun.

Above: the poster, which resembles a certain magazine’s cover. Read more here.

Above: Bill Murray as the magazine’s editor, Arthur Howitzer, Jr. — a character “inspired by Harold Ross, The New Yorker‘s founding editor…[with] a dash of A.J. Liebling.”

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Video Of Interest: Liza Donnelly On Oscar’s Red Carpet

From Fab TV, this YouTube video of Liza Donnelly on Oscar’s Red Carpet this past Sunday.

Ms. Donnelly, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1982, has posted all of her Red Carpet drawings on Medium.

For more info visit Liza Donnelly’s website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon (And Yesterday’s)

Brendan Loper on the field of Democratic Presidential candidates.

Mr. Loper began contributing to in 2016.

Yesterday’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon:

Lila Ash on too many caucuses. Ms. Ash began contributing to The New Yorker in 2018. See more of her work here.

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New York Times Magazine Piece Of Interest: Tina Brown

From The New York Times Magazine, “Tina Brown on the future of the royal family” — Don’t be fooled by the title, this piece by Dave Marchese, includes a good bit of New Yorker talk.

Left: Edward Sorel‘s cover for Ms. Brown’s first issue of The New Yorker (October 5, 1992).

 

 

Harold Ross’s “R”

The arrival of a New Yorker original here at Spill headquarters is always a “moment.”  Yesterday’s  addition to the Spill collection — an I. Klein original published in the June 19, 1926 issue — instantly became the second oldest New Yorker drawing in the house (the earliest is an Alice Harvey cartoon, published October 25, 1925). Here’s how Mr. Klein’s drawing looked as published (below left):

Here’s what the original looks like:

When the drawing arrived — when any pre-1952* New Yorker original drawing arrives — the first thing my eyes go to is the “R” usually found on either the upper right hand corner of a drawing or on the back of the drawing.  The “R” was The New Yorker‘s founder and first editor, Harold Ross’s  way of noting a bought drawing.  You can clearly see the “R’ on the upper right hand corner of Mr. Klein’s drawing:

Ross’s “R” is mentioned in a memorable passage on page 61 of James Thurber’s must read, The Years With Ross. Here’s Thurber talking about a drawing** he loved enough to resubmit despite Ross’s initial rejection:

“I’ll send that drawing in to every meeting until it’s bought and printed,”  I told him [Ross]. I think it was bought on the third resubmission. Some of my drawings were held up much longer than that, and one night I got into Ross’s office with a passkey, faked his R on three drawings I especially liked, and sent them through the works the next day.

Ross’s “R” appeared elsewhere, as on this New Yorker reprint of a Joseph Mitchell piece.  We perhaps should assume that the initial indicated approval of this special issue.

 

*Ross died in December of 1951. His successor William Shawn, did not seem to initial bought drawings.

**The drawing of “a would-be woman purchaser” of a dog at a pet shop, being told by the proprietor, “I’m very sorry, madam, but the one in the middle is stuffed, poor fellow” was published March 7, 1936.

Here’s I. Klein’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

I. (“Izzy”) Klein  Born Isidore Klein, Newark, New Jersey, October 12, 1897. Died, 1986. His papers can be found at Syracuse University. New Yorker work, over 200 drawings from 1925 through 1937.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Archives: The Humble New Yorker Art Department Office Supply; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

Here’s a fun oddity: the stamp/envelope moistener that once sat in The New Yorker‘s Art Department at the magazine’s 25 West 43rd Street address. The moistener, sold by Chicago’s Wilson Jones Company, seems have been manufactured in the 1940s. It was in use at The New Yorker until 1991, when the magazine moved south across 43rd Street to modern digs and more modern means of correspondence.

When I began contributing to The New Yorker in the 1970s, cartoonists either went into the office to drop off their weekly batch of drawings, or they mailed in their batch. If you sold a drawing, it would arrive by week’s end in a 10″x13″ manilla envelope with a glued flap.  I can’t help but think of the humble part the moistener –a  simple heavy object — played in the process of every New Yorker cartoonist’s life back then. It was part of a chain of events that began with the cartoonist’s creation of a drawing; the drawing then sent or brought to the magazine’s offices where it passed by the eyes of the art editor (James Geraghty, until 1973, and then Lee Lorenz).  If it made that first cut, it moved on to the art meeting, and shown to the editor (Harold Ross until 1951, William Shawn until 1987, then Robert Gottlieb). If the editor Oked it (and the fact checkers cleared it), the Oked cartoon was placed in a New Yorker envelope, sealed (!) and returned to the cartoonist. Trumpets didn’t blare upon its homecoming, but it was always a heart-racing “moment” seeing that envelope and unsealing it to find which of your drawings was now a New Yorker cartoon.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Help remembering 2020 by Avi Steinberg.

Mr. Steinberg began contributing to The New Yorker in 2012.

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Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

“Torture Devices Designed By My Inner Monologue”

by Irving Ruan, and cartoonist Eugenia Viti, who began contributing to The New Yorker in in June of 2019.

 

The Forever Fun Work By Nurit Karlin, Dana Fradon, and Gahan Wilson

2019 was an unusually rough year in the loss column for New Yorker cartoonists. We lost Nurit Karlin in April, Dana Fradon in October, and then Gahan Wilson in November.  Although we miss them, and mourn them, we have thousands of their cartoons at hand in anthologies, collections, and online.  A wonderful thing happened this morning when I began looking once again at Nurit’s, Dana’s and Gahan’s drawings in New Yorker anthologies: their work gave me a cartoonist jump-start into the new year — a fun boost as 2020 begins.

Ms. Karlin, the lone female cartoonist at the magazine during her first four years at the magazine, reinvigorated the school of Thurber:  simple clean lines delighting as much as a Reginald Marsh double-page extravaganza. Ms. Karlin found humor without captions — in my book a most difficult way to define one’s cartoon world.  She moved the captionless tradition into modern times; a  corner of the cartoonist’s universe notably practiced  by Sam Cobean and Otto Soglow in the magazine’s earlier years.

Dana Fradon, 97 at the time of his passing, was our last cartoonist link to the Harold Ross era. Mr. Fradon had excellent recall of the generations of New Yorker contributors he encountered during his more than half a century contributing his organically funny drawings. Good humor and high-bar artistry stayed with him throughout. Mr. Fradon, along with a number of his contemporaries, excelled at inverted tip-of-the-iceberg drawings: the point he wanted to make was just below the surface.

Gahan Wilson, affectionately and accurately dubbed the Wizard Of Weird, was the child who loved to draw monsters who grew up to be the adult who drew monsters. It was Mr. Wilson’s genuine love of that frightening world, and his gifted exploration of it throughout his life that caused us to cherish him and his work.

 

 

James Thurber, Cartoon Critic; William Steig Drawings At Auction; Meet The Artist (1943): Gluyas Williams

James Thurber, Cartoon Critic

On a recent search through Thurber biographies in the Spill library I happened upon a Thurber letter I’d forgotten about. Written to Harold Ross, and dated October 20, 1941, it appears in the mother ship of all Thurber biographies, Harrison Kinney’s twelve hundred and thirty-eight page Thurber: His Life And Times (Henry Holt, 1995).

Thurber, unhappy his ideas supplied for the artist, Mary Petty have been rejected, takes issue with five drawings in the current issue — the issue of October 18, 1941.  After Thurber reminds Ross that this letter is not his first complaint (all Thurber quotes in this post are bolded):

You already have filed away for your autobiography some 50 or 100 blasphemous notes from me on what is the matter with the magazine.

he goes on to say:

The really great New Yorker drawings have had to do with people sitting in chairs, lying on the beach, or walking along the street.  The easy answer the art meeting always gives to the dearth of ideas like the ones I am trying to describe is that they are hard to get or that nobody sends them in anymore. It seems to me that the principle reason for this is that the artists take their cue from the type of drawing which they see constantly published in the magazine.

Here are those first three drawings, by Richard Decker, Alan Dunn, and Ned Hilton. (Mr. Decker’s caption, difficult to read in the scan, is: “Where have you been. Your plane crashed half an hour ago.”)

Thurber writes of these drawings:

Years ago I wrote a story for The New Yorker in which a woman who tried to put together a cream separator suddenly snarled at those who were looking at her and said, “Why doesn’t somebody take this god damned thing away from me?”  I want to help take the cream separators, parachutes, fire extinguishers, paint brushes and tomahawks away from four-fifths of the characters that appear in the The New Yorker idea drawings…

Thurber goes on to talk about two other drawings in the issue. Here’s Thurber on this drawing by  Leonard Dove:

It must have been six years ago you told me drawings about psychoanalysts were terribly out of date. The next week I turned in one in which the analyst says, “A moment ago, Mrs. Ridgway, you said that everybody you looked at seemed to be a rabbit. Now just what did you mean by that?”* …But you can’t publish a drawing about an analyst and a woman with the caption, “Your only trouble is, Mrs. Markham, that you’re so horribly normal.” This is one of the oldest, tritest, and most often repeated lines in the world.

And then Thurber moved on to this Chon Day drawing:

…this is such an extravagant distortion of reality, it is so far removed from what any salesman would ever say, that to be successful it has to be fantastic. But since the situation is not fantastic, it ends up simply being a bad gag…No sales man ever said to any housewife what you have him saying in the cartoon I am talking about. That is a gag man’s idea.

*Thurber didn’t quite get his own caption right. The actual caption: “You said just a moment ago that everybody you look at seems to be a rabbit.  Now just what do you mean by that, Mrs. Sprague?” It appeared in The New Yorker February 13, 1937.

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William Steig Drawings At Auction

The other day it was noted here that the Swann Galleries will auction New Yorker work December 10th. Yesterday a Spill visitor sent me this listing of Steig drawings to be auctioned December 5th by Bonhams. Some beautiful work by one of The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Gods!

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Meet The Artist (1943): Gluyas Williams

Speaking of NYer Cartoon Gods, here’s a self portrait of Gluyas Williams from the 1943 catalog published by the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum.

…and here’s Mr. Williams’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Gluyas Williams (above left undated; right: 1 975) Born, San Francisco, 1888. Died, Boston, Mass., 1982. One of the pillars of Harold Ross’s stable of artists, and one of Ross’s favorite cartoonists. His beautiful full page drawings were a regular feature in the magazine. Mr. Williams illustrated a number of Robert Benchley’s collections, providing the cover art as well as illustrations. New Yorker work: March 13, 1926 – Aug 25, 1951. Key collections: The Gluyas Williams Book ( Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1929), The Gluyas Williams Gallery (Harper, 1956). Website: http://www.gluyaswilliams.com/