Dana Fradon, Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist, Has Died

Above: The New Yorker artist,Charles Saxon; James Geraghty,The New Yorker’s art editor from 1939-1973; The New Yorker artist, Dana Fradon, and New Yorker artist, Whitney Darrow, Jr.. Photo: Sara Geraghty Herndon.

Dana Fradon, the last surviving New Yorker cartoonist of Harold Ross’s era (he was the last cartoonist contracted under Mr. Ross’s editorship), and one of The New Yorker‘s most prolific cartoonists (he is in the top twenty of the magazine’s artists who have contributed over a thousand drawings), passed away October 3 in Woodstock, New York.  He was 97.  Mr. Fradon’s first cartoon appeared in the issue of May 1, 1948 (it appears below).  His last New Yorker drawing appeared April 21, 2003. Mr. Fradon was born April 14, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois.

Fradon:1stIn the Spill‘s interview with Mr. Fradon in the Fall of 2013, I asked him how he worked:

I had a big pad of paper, 14” x 17” bond paper; I’d make little notes and sketches and see where they’d lead me. Once, when I was giving a talk I said the important thing of thinking of ideas is knowing when to pounce. You kick ideas around in your subconscious and then this one is a straggler and you pounce on it because it seems funny. And that’s the one you draw up. I drew up a lot of rejections too of course [laughing].

When I think of Mr. Fradon’s work for the magazine, I think of the utility player in baseball, who plays many positions well. If you look through Mr. Fradon’s nearly fourteen hundred New Yorker cartoons you’ll see how well he played. His line was effortless, his subject matter both timely and  often timeless, as in his New Yorker drawing below from the issue of  September 23, 1991.

In a funny telling moment from my interview with him, he said, “I’m not really a cartoonist. I’m a misplaced baseball player or something like that.” 

I had occasion to call Mr. Fradon over the years when I had some New Yorker cartoonist history  that needed fleshing out. He was, after all, a direct link to the magazine’s golden age of cartooning.  His recall of New Yorker events and characters was impressive (about seeing Peter Arno at The New Yorker‘s 25th anniversary party: “Arno was the star…he danced all night.“). His sense of humor remained impressive as well.  In one of our last conversations, I called asking him for some insight on a recently departed cartoonist colleague. Mr. Fradon’s first question to me was, “Are you calling because you think I’m next?” 

Above, two Fradon cartoon collections. Insincerely Yours (Scribner, 1978) and Breaking The Laugh Barrier (Dell, 1961)

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To see some of Dana Fradon’s New Yorker work, go the the magazine’s website here.

An obituary appears in The Newtown Bee. Read it here.

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker, October 14, 2019

The Cover: Ed Steed returns with his second New Yorker cover, and like his first (August 26th of this year) it’s a winner.  Read the magazine’s Q&A with Mr. Steed about his cover here.

The Cartoonists & Cartoons:

A number of drawings of special note in this issue:

A fab mouse drawing (it’s on page 30) by the great Sam Gross.  As noted here recently, Mr. Gross is now in his 50th year of contributing to The New Yorker.

Sara Lautman’s “…accompanied” drawing (p. 43) is a fine fun drawing — delivered in a style unlike any other in the magazine’s stable.

Lars Kenseth’s astronauts drawing (p. 58). I’ll just say it:  Mr. Kenseth’s drawing made me laugh out loud.

Sofia Warren’s Charles Addamsy drawing (p. 63).  A good deal of information to absorb, well-handled.

Glen Baxter’s lion in a museum (p. 48). I’m a sucker for (what seem like) bolt-of-lightning drawings. By that I mean drawings that seem instantaneously transferred to us from the artist without labor (Jack Ziegler was a master of the form). I could be completely wrong: perhaps Mr. Baxter spent hours and days developing this particular cartoon. It’s become a favorite Baxter drawing.

David Borchart’s drawing (p.44) is a fine addition to the magazine’s desert island canon. May desert island drawings never end.

From one who loves castles (and drawing them), nice to see Jeremy Nguyen’s different take (p.25).

A newbie in this issue: Yael Green makes her debut appearance (p.74). Ms. Green is the 23rd new cartoonist brought into the fold this year, and the 49th since Emma Allen became cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch: Here’s Mr. Irvin’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Rea Irvin  Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925. He was the magazine’s first art editor, holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.

The classic Talk masthead by Mr Irvin that ran for 92 consecutive years  is shown above. It was replaced by a redraw (!) in the Spring of 2017. It’s never too late to bring it back.

 

 

Many Many Coffees Ago At The New Yorker; The Tilley Watch Online, Sept. 30 – October 4, 2019

Many Many Coffees Ago At The New Yorker

Here’s a fun photo I came across in the Spill’s archives. Taken in 1987 at The New Yorker‘s long-time offices at 25 West 43rd Street.*

Left to right: Roz Chast, yours truly, Liza Donnelly, Sam Gross, and Mick Stevens. The occasion may have been the art department’s annual holiday party.

*Below:  a Spill map showing The New Yorker‘s various locations in its 94 years.

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The Tilley Watch Online, September 30 – October 4, 2019

An end of the week listing of New Yorker cartoonists who contributed to the Daily Cartoon and/or Daily Shouts

The Daily Cartoon: Brooke Bourgeois, Brendan Loper (two appearances), David Sipress, and Pat Byrnes.

Daily Shouts: Ellis Rosen (with Annelise Capossela), Jeremy Nguyen (with Thatcher Jensen), Julia Wertz, and Amy Hwang.

 

Tonight’s Events Of Interest: Liana Finck & Emily Flake in Conversation, Drew Friedman & Robert Klein In Conversation; More Thurber; Fave Photo Of The Day; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Liana Finck will be in conversation with Emily Flake this evening at Books Are Magic. All the info here.

Ms. Finck began contributing to The New Yorker in 2013.  Her latest book is Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, And Notes To Self (Random House).  Ms. Flake has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2008. Her book That Was Awkward: The Art And Etiquette of the Awkward Hug is out from Viking, October 15th.

And…

Over at The Strand tonight, Drew Friedman will be in conversation with comedian Robert Klein. All the info here.

New Yorker readers will no doubt remember Mr. Friedman’s New Yorker  cover of January 26, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Thurber

From WOSU Public Radio, this conversation with Michael Rosen and Sara Thurber Sauers on the occasion of the Columbus, Ohio Thurber exhibit and publication of A Mile And A Half Of Lines: The Art Of James Thurber (Ohio State University Press).

James Thurber’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

James Thurber Born, Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 1894. Died 1961, New York City. New Yorker work: 1927 -1961, with several pieces run posthumously.  According to the New Yorker’s legendary editor, William Shawn, “In the early days, a small company of writers, artists, and editors — E.B. White, James Thurber, Peter Arno, and Katharine White among them — did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.”  

Link here to JamesThurber.org

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Fave Photo Of The Day

Roz Chast and Neil Goldberg on stage at last night’s Museum of the City of New York event.  Ms. Chast began contributing to The New Yorker in 1978.

Photo courtesy of Marcie Jacobs-Cole

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Attention-getting, by Brendan Loper.