From graphicarts (Princeton University), “Graphic Arts Collection: Whitney Darrow Jr”
By July of 1977, when I cracked open a brand new sketchbook, I’d already filled 38 others with drawings that had yet to connect with The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, Lee Lorenz; in other words: I was still an unpublished cartoonist. Of course I didn’t have a clue that the brand new sketchbook, #39 (pictured above), would contain the drawing that changed my unpublished status, sort of. Twelve drawings into the book I drew a fortune teller telling a man, “Nothing will ever happen to you.”
I copied it, and sent in the copy with my weekly batch to The New Yorker. They bought it for its idea, and gave it to the incomparable Whitney Darrow, Jr. to work up in his great style. I was left with the mixed blessing of having sold something to The New Yorker, but having to explain to family and friends why the work published wasn’t mine.
Left: Whitney Darrow’s published version
This post, however, is about the drawing in sketchbook #39 that came a page before the fortune teller drawing. In those early days I’d draw words and picture directly onto the sketchbook, without working them out somewhere. They all looked somewhat finished. Thus the sketchbook was a day-by-day unedited chronicle of work. Recently, I opened the sketchbook and looked at the drawing before the fortune teller drawing. It’s undoubtedly a personal tipping point, in just a turn of the page — it separates my years as an unpublished cartoonist from the years to come as a published cartoonist. It gave me a bit of a shudder looking at the drawing, a two-parter, captioned, “Isn’t that Telly Savalas?” What if (I let myself think) the next drawing after Telly Savalas hadn’t been the one; there’s not a hint of a possibility it would lead to a publishable idea. In a funny way, this little dance continues on to this day. There’s always going to be a Telly Savalas just before the drawing that works.
“The New Yorker Family Reunion Panel” featuring children of Golden Age New Yorker artists, Alice Harvey, Perry Barlow, Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz and Whitney Darrow, Jr., Saturday, April 12th at The Westport Historical Society. Also on the panel: the children of James Geraghty, the magazine’s Art Editor from 1939 through 1973. You can find examples of work by the artists on The New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site.
(photo of The New Yorker Albums by Michael Maslin)
Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker‘s current Cartoon Editor is on the road promoting his new book, How About Never — Is Never Good for You? This latest report comes from The Princeton Packet.
As promised, here are three more of the eighteen short biographies from the Westport Historical Society exhibit, Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport. My thanks again to the WHS for allowing these to be posted here on Ink Spill.
(Photo of Donald Reilly courtesy of Liza Donnelly).
For another look at the exhibit, link here to Attempted Bloggery, where you’ll find photos galore (scroll down for the Westport coverage).
(Above: Charles Addams at the wheel, with James Geraghty, The New Yorker‘s Art Editor from 1939 through 1973. South Hampton, 1947)
For those wanting to bathe in the glow of New Yorker covers and art history from the magazine’s Golden Age, there’s no better place this winter than the Westport Historical Society where dual exhibits, “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport and…Can’t Tell a Book by Its Cover” are currently running (through April 26th).
(Left: Charles Saxon, James Geraghty, Dana Fradon, and Whitney Darrow, Jr. Westport, September, 1982.)
Along with a room full of blow-ups of New Yorker covers and some original cover art by Garrett Price, Arthur Getz and John Norment, are informative biographies of each of the 16 artists represented, with photographs of the artists.
As the exhibit’s catalog notes:
Between 1925 and 1989, 16 New Yorker artists living in and around Westport – Weston produced a remarkable 761 covers for The New Yorker, a phenomenon first identified by curator Eve Potts.
From less than 10 per year pre-1939, New Yorker covers by greater Westport artists climbed to a peak of 27 in 1957.
The 16 artists: Garrett Price, James Daugherty, Perry Barlow, Alice Harvey, Helen Hokinson, Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz, Charles Addams, Reginald Massie, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Charles Saxon, Albert Hubbell, Donald Reilly, Mischa Richter, David Preston, and John Norment (thumb-nail bios for those artists in bold can be found on Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z)
James Geraghty, seen in the photograph to the left, settled with his family in Weston in 1949. He was the anchor for the concentration of New Yorker art and artists thriving in and around Westport-Weston. The exhibit features a wall of photographs celebrating Mr. Geraghty’s career at the magazine (the photos shown here from the exhibit are courtesy of Sarah Geraghty Herndon)
(Left: Geraghty in his New Yorker office at 25 West 43rd St. 1948)
(Mischa Richter, at the Geraghty’s. Weston, Ct. 1950s)
(Perry Barlow and Lois Smith at the Geraghty’s home, 1959).
(Left: Geraghty and Charles Saxon at The New Yorker)
From The Westport Historical Society webpage:
Between 1925 and 1989, 16 New Yorker artists living in and around Westport-Weston produced a remarkable 761 covers for The New Yorker Magazine.
The Westport Historical Society’s next two exhibits share the covers and the story-behind-the-story, focusing especially on the influence of The New Yorker’s “idea man” turned Art Editor, James Geraghty.
Link here to the Westport Society website for details. And also make sure to read Dorrie (Barlow) Thomas’s piece about her grandfather’s 1939 New Yorker cover (below) that inspired a famous Christmas song.