The Weekend Spill: Unboxing A Box Of Steinbergs & Steigs; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of March 2-6, 2020; James Stevenson Documentary At Martha’s Vineyard Film Fest; More Spills…

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So often when I go on a hunt for something in the Spill‘s archives I come upon some other thing that takes me off onto another track. Today for instance, while poking around piles of boxes, I came across the box you see above.  Many years ago I filled the box with issues of The New Yorker bearing  Steinberg covers and Steig covers — then I stuck a label on the box and put the box on a shelf where it remained unopened for at least a decade, if not more. Today I opened the box and placed most of the issues out on a table.

Gems all! Maybe a dozen more issues didn’t make it into the photograph, but you get the idea. What I find interesting about this group is that I cannot remember why I bothered to gather these particular issues.

After photographing them, I put them all back in their beat-up box. I have plans to incorporate them into the loose issue New Yorker collection — but not today; maybe in 2030, when I come across the box again.

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A listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to newyorker.com features this past week

The Daily Cartoon: Christopher Weyant, David Sipress, Ellis Rosen, Elisabeth McNair, Ali Solomon.

Daily Shouts: Ward Sutton.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

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Sally Williams fab 2019 documentary Stevenson Lost & Found will be shown March 29th at The Martha’s Vineyard Film Fest. Info here.  Lucky you if you’re on the island and able to attend.

Mr. Stevenson’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other New Yorker artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! ( MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson was a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He was a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, published in 2013, is essential reading.  Sally Williams’ 2019 documentary film, Stevenson Lost & Found is essential viewing.

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…Just a few days ago while browsing through a bound volume of New Yorkers I came across a drawing by Ihrie Means (in the issue of May 14, 2007). Ms. Means name has now been added to the Spill‘s A-Z. My apologies for not adding her sooner.

…Work by Liz Montague, a newer addition to the New Yorker’s stable (March, 2019), is in (A Mini) Zine Fest, later this month.  Details here.

…The late great Syd Hoff‘s name came up in yesterday’s New York Times crossword puzzle: the clue (if that’s what it’s called — I’m not a crossword puzzler) was Cartoonist Hoff. 

Here’s Syd Hoff’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Syd Hoff ( Photo source: Esquire Cartoon album, 1957) Born 1912, New York City, died May 12, 2004, Miami Beach, Florida. New Yorker work: 1931 – 1975. Visit the Syd Hoff website here.

 

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist; Barry Blitt’s Latest Kvetchbook: J.D. Salinger; “New Yorker Cartoons For The Holidays”

Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Teresa Burns Parkhurst on ice skating. Ms. Parkhurst began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017.

More of her New Yorker work can be seen here.

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Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

“Classic Instagram Poses To Confuse People About Whether You’re Dating Someone”

— a joint effort by Jason Adam Katzenstein, who wrote the piece & Jenny Kroik, who illustrated it.

Mr. Katzenstein has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2014.  Ms. Kroik since 2017.

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Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook

Mr. Blitt on a J.D. Salinger moment. See it here.

Barry Blitt has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1994.

…Salinger as a subject proved irresistible to me as well. Here’s what I did with him in a piece titled  “If Salinger Tweeted”  published in the Spring 2014 Southampton Review.


New Yorker Cartoons For The Holidays

A healthy number of holiday themed cartoons from the archives (including the above beauty from William Steig, published December 31, 1955) selected by the magazine’s assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes. See them here.

 

The Weekend Spill: Happy 125th James Thurber!; Three New Yorkers; New Cast Album For Arno’s 1930’s Musical “The New Yorkers”; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

Happy 125th James Thurber!

Anyone who follows the Spill knows that James Thurber is a mighty big deal around here. I’ve written numerous times over the years how seeing his drawing, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss?” changed everything for me. Today marks the 125th anniversary of Thurber’s birth.  Michael Rosen’s recently published A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber is an excellent book to throw yourself into today, or any day.

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Three New Yorkers

The three issues above unexpectedly arrived in the mail the other day, courtesy of a friend.  I immediately shoved my stack of drawing paper to the side and dove into the magazines. When I look through older copies of The New Yorker I focus on the art (so many cartoons to see, so little time).

So, what do these three issues have in common besides being three issues of The New Yorker and all published in the early 60s? Each has at least one drawing by Frank Modell, James Stevenson, and Dana Fradon. That trio, in their time, along with perhaps ten other cartoonists, anchored hundreds, if not thousands of issues of The New Yorker.

When I arrived at The New Yorker in the late 1970s, Messrs. Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson had already been contributing for decades, with Frank Modell the most veteran of the bunch, having begun at The New Yorker during the mid-1940s.  As I was beginning my New Yorker education by studying back issues of the magazine I was astounded to discover how long these artists had already been at the magazine. Even more astounding: there were cartoonists who’d been at The New Yorker even longer, and were still contributing — such greats as Al Ross, who began contributing in 1937, Whitney Darrow, Jr. (1933), George Price (1929), and William Steig (1930).

I was lucky enough to meet and get to know (if only a little) most of the cartoonists mentioned above. Of the three exceptions: Steig, Darrow, and Price, I communicated via a few letters with Steig — Whitney Darrow turned an idea of mine into a New Yorker drawing. I regret not walking over and meeting Whitney Darrow, and George Price at the only once-in-a-lifetime  opportunities I had with each. I’ve written before of the magazine’s artists family tree — the generations overlapping at the magazine. Just a few weeks ago I met several New Yorker cartoonists who’ve just started their careers in the past couple of years — one in just the past six months. Picking up almost any issue of the magazine, from the earliest years to the most recent is an instant reminder of the connectivity.

From the Spill‘s A-Z, the Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson entries:

Frank Modell ( photograph taken early 1990s) Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1917. Died, May 27, 2016, Guilford, Connecticut. New Yorker work: 1946 – 1997. Mr. Modell began his New Yorker career as assistant to the Art Editor, James Geraghty. He soon began contributing his cartoons (and cartoon ideas for others), with his first drawing appearing July 20, 1946. Besides his work for The New Yorker, he was a children’s book author and an actor (he appeared, most notably, in Woody Allen’s 1980 film, Stardust Memories). Key collection: Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! (Dodd, Mead, 1978).

Dana Fradon (photo: 1978). Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY.  Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.

 

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential. “Stevenson Lost and Found,” a documentary film by Sally Williams, was released in 2019.

— The cover artists for The New Yorkers  shown at the top of this post: l-r: Robert Kraus, Garrett Price, and Arthur Getz

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New Cast Album For Cole Porter’s (and Peter Arno’s) 1930 Musical, The New Yorkers

From Broadway World, December 6th, 2019, “The New Cast Album of ‘The New Yorkers,’ the 1930 Cole Porter Musical, is Available today”

If you want to read a lot more about “The New Yorkers” I modestly suggest my Arno biography, specifically Chapter Seven:  Up Broadway and Down.

Above left: The cover of the new cast recording. To the right “The New Yorkers” original 1930 program, with art by Peter Arno.

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

An end of the week listing of New Yorker artists who’ve contributed to newyorker.com

The Daily Cartoon: David Ostow, Tom Toro, Paul Karasik, Ali Solomon, Jon Adams.

Daily Shouts: Julia Wertz, Olivia de Recat.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

To see all of the above, and much more, link here.

 

 

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/

 

 

 

Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of November 18, 2019; Some Thoughts After Seeing The Documentary Film, “Stevenson Lost And Found”

Late Notice: A Launch Party Tonight With Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell Live-Drawing

From the Facebook Invite:

Come celebrate the release of Sarah Dooley’s new book ‘Are You My Uber?’ which is a parody of the P.D. Eastman classic ‘Are You My Mother?’ Listen to comedians Sydnee Washington, Eva Victor, Larry Owens, Pat Regan, Marcia Belsky, Gabe Gonzalez, and Taylor Ortega tell hilarious stories of wild cab experiences while Hilary Campbell, the book’s illustrator, does live drawings.

Ms. Campbell began contributing to The New Yorker in 2017. Visit her website here.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

A leafy Daily from Chris Weyant, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 1998. Visit his website here.

 

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The Cover: I see leaves. The fifth cover (below right) by Brigit Schossow.  Read a Q&A with her here.

There’ve been a lot, a whole lot, of leafy New Yorker covers, but this current one by Ms. Schossow  brought to mind (courtesy of a helpful New Yorker colleague) the beauty below left by the magazine’s former art & cartoon editor, Lee Lorenz.

 

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

A scattering of thoughts about just a few of the cartoons in this issue:

P.C. Vey’s bear and couple in the woods (on page 33) made my day.

Something totally unexpected cartoon-wise is usually always good, and so it was coming upon a Jack Ziegler cartoon. Especially nice that the drawing is set in one of his favorite cartoon scenarios: a bar.

A fun Pete Mueller drawing (p.27).  Two Mueller drawings in two issues. Yay!

Ellis Rosen’s friend’s shower (p.56) is different. Like the choices of warm/cold and cold/warm.

Needed a ten second Googled refresher course with Liana Finck’s drawing (p. 60).  Not so much what her drawing means, but the meme’s origin (just curious, y’know).

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:

Am hoping to open the issue one day and see Mr. Irvin’s iconic design has returned. No dice this week. For now, there’s that re-draw. Read about the classic Irvin Talk masthead here.

Here’s the real deal:

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Some Thoughts After Seeing The James Stevenson Documentary Film, Stevenson Lost And Found

A few random thoughts after attending last night’s premiere of Sally Williams’ fab documentary film, Stevenson Lost And Found.  There are are so many moments in the film — too many to go into here — that cartoonists and people who love New Yorker cartoons will treasure.

One instance I found particularly fascinating: the animated sequence showing what might go through cartoonists brains as they sit down and begin the day’s work. We’re shown a series of cartoons covering a wide variety of subject matter. It is, for this cartoonist, a relatable experience, as the mind careens through unlimited places every morning.

Another instance: in some eye-popping sequences we’re shown images of Mr. Stevenson’s children’s books lined-up, as well as Mr. Stevenson’s New Yorker  black scrap books (shown above) kept in the magazine’s library. These books contain every single signed New Yorker contribution by Stevenson, whether it’s his writing or drawing (including covers of course).*  Most of The New Yorker’s nearly 650 cartoonists (from 1925- present) have not had their work collected in one scrap book, let alone five. **

At the screening, I was lucky enough to be seated next to the legendary artist, Edward Sorel. During one of the sequences in the film where we are grasping the enormous amount of work Stevenson did (both published and unpublished) Mr. Sorel leaned over and said to me, “Do you feel as much like an underachiever as I do?”

In a perfect cartoon world, there’d be films such as Lost And Found for a number of the magazine’s artists. It’s heartening that there is already a Thurber film out there, and an Addams documentary in the works, as well as a film about George Booth.  But how about a Steinberg documentary, and one about Steig***?  I can dream, can’t I.  For now, we are quite fortunate to have this gem on Stevenson showing on the big screen. Go see.

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* I say “signed” because The New Yorker  did not and does not scrap book cartoon ideas handled by other artists. Mr. Stevenson, early in his New Yorker career, wrote a large number of captions for some of the magazine’s artists (read about his “secret job” here).

**Artists (and writers) without an enormous amount of work are scrap booked in alphabetically  cataloged books, along with other contributors.

***A short video accompanied the Steig exhibit that ran at The Norman Rockwell exhibit.

There is a 20 minute film about Edward Sorel available here.

A 40 minute Eldon Dedini film here, 

And a short film about C.E.M. (Charles E. Martin) here.