Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jazz Club: Julian De Miskey Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

Julian de Miskey's biographical page on the Papillon Gallery website is illustrated with "Jazz Club," a proposed New Yorker magazine cover, we are plausibly told. The artwork is extraordinarily energetic, overrunning its borders on all four sides. The palette is dominated by reds and browns; the composition has exaggerated diagonals going off to the right and to the left. Animated horn players seen from above occupy the foreground, slender and angulated dancers fill the middle ground, and seated club-goers provide a simple line of perspective at the back.

Julian de Miskey, Jazz Club, c. 1928

De Miskey's published New Yorker cover of June 6, 1925—his second and the magazine's sixteenth—makes for an interesting comparison with "Jazz Club." It's basically the same subject, highly-stylized but by comparison far more static and with a more conventional use of space. It is designed for a two-color press, the magazine's financial constraints being paramount in its early days. The evident similarity with the circa 1928 cover proposal possibly may have precluded the latter's use.
Julian de Miskey, The New Yorker, June 6, 1925
Instead, the magazine may have gone with a more humorous take on the 1928 jazz scene, one which remained somewhat stylized but which focused on the activity at the tables in the night club rather than on the dance floor. By now, the magazine's covers are printed in four colors—and this one's the bee's knees!
Julian de Miskey, The New Yorker, January 14, 1928
http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=1928-01-14#folio=CV1

The Papillon Gallery has useful biographical information on de Miskey:
http://www.papillongallery.com/julian_de_miskey.html

Note:
  Attempted Bloggery would love for readers to provide scans or photos of more original art by Julian de Miskey and for more proposed but rejected New Yorker cover art, particularly from published artists.


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Mouse at the Opera: Julian de Miskey Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

These days the New Yorker's covers generally don't venture into the opera house. In the early decades of the magazine, though, the cover art frequently took a seriocomic look at the spectacle of grand opera—and the grander the better. Productions, often at the Old Met, including their full complement of cast, crew, and audience were fair game as cover subjects. A proposed cover by the talented Julian de Miskey offers a backstage view of the heldentenor's dressing room at a production of "Siegfried." We are delighted to see that the singer, in full costume as Siegfried, the quintessential Wagnerian hero, has been bested by a tiny mouse.

The paper bears evidence of folding into three parts, as if it were a letter that at one time had been put neatly into an envelope. This shows the widespread casual attitude of artist and editors to concept art that was not destined for publication. No doubt they would have been more careful had they foreseen a time when this rejected cover proposal would be offered for sale by a leading bookseller for $2,500.

Julian de Miskey proposed New Yorker cover art

Julian De Miskey
James Cummins, Bookseller Listing as of July 16, 2017


Note:  This is Julian de Miskey's first appearance here on the blog.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Squeaky Wheel: Ronald Searle Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

In 1961, Ronald Searle took note of the hype preceding the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair and submitted a magazine cover proposal for the New Yorker on the subject of the creative ferment already surrounding  the event. His artwork shows a kinetic sculptor working, it seems, in the media of flags of the world and bicycle wheels. The sculptor is seen applying an oil can to a presumably squeaky wheel. The artwork is clever, colorful, and fanciful, maybe too fanciful for the New Yorker of 1961. Perhaps it was too early for the New Yorker's cover art to begin referencing the World's Fair at all, too early even for the editors to dedicate  the cover to a beatnik sculptor drawn by that upstart Searle, whose first New Yorker cover would not be published until 1969.

Ronald Searle, proposed New Yorker cover art, 1961

Searle couldn't have known in 1961 that it was to be Walt Disney who actually would bring a signature kinetic sculpture to the New York World's Fair. The Tower of the Four Winds was designed by Imagineer Rolly Crump. The 120-foot-tall Fairground landmark was demolished after the fair closed, but a small scale model is on display today at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Orlando.
Rolly Crump, The Tower  of the Four Winds model
The Small World pavilion
New York World's Fair 1964-1965

Disney's Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World
March 26, 2008

Rolly Crump and Walt Disney with the model, c. 1964
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World
March 26, 2008



Rolly Crump
The Tower of the Four Winds
The Small World Pavilion
New York World's Fair 1964-1965


Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair (1964)
The Tower of the Four Winds is shown starting at 31:27

Rolly Crump Discusses the Dismantling
of the Tower of the Four Winds

The Tower of the Four Winds
CGI recreation


Note:  Thanks to David from Manhattan for providing the Searle scan. This artwork first appeared online in 2008 on the Ronald Searle Tribute blog in the post entitled "Private Collections."


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Monday, July 17, 2017

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #576

Gather round the hive for my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #576 for July 10, 2017. This honey of a drawing is by Joe Dator.

"Will you be my queen?"


One caption got kicked out of the hive.
"How can every woman have the same allergy?"



Note:  Last time, cartoonist Tom Cheney led the procession. My caption lagged behind. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road and Contest # 575.

Next why not swarm to my blog posts on Joe Dator?

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ah yes, I Remember It Well...: Ronald Searle Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

Ronald Searle's magazine cover proposals submitted to the New Yorker often consisted of finished art ready to go to press. Living, as he did, in the south of France, he avoided the cumbersome process of submitting roughs and only later reworking them into finished designs. Some of Searle's New Yorker rejections were never printed anywhere, but he learned he could publish many of them in his own sumptuously-produced collections. Thus I Remember It Well... from 1972 was included in More Cats (1976) and several later collections as well. Alternatively called Ah yes, I Remember It Well..., the title comes, of course, from the well-known duet in Lerner and Loewe's film score "Gigi" (1958).

But this watercolor does not depict a duet. One window, indeed, remains darkened with the blinds down. In the other window a lone cat sits solitary in his chair, violin close at hand, a wistful far-off gaze in his  eye, as he contemplates days gone by. The original artwork was in the collection of Searle's wife Monica and was later given to E. and V. Caloutsis. Artist Valerios Caloutsis was born in Crete in 1927 and is an abstract painter.

Ronald Searle, I Remember It Well..., 1972
Proposed New Yorker cover art
More Cats, 1975, as Oh yes, I remember it well . . . , pages 18-19

Ronald Searle, 1979. as Ah yes, I remember it well . . . , page 143
 Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book, 1982, as
Ah yes, I remember it well . . .
Searle and Searle,
2001, as I remember it well . . . , cat. no. 20

Ronald Searle
Christie's South Kensington, November 23, 2016



Ronald Searle, I Remember It Well..., 1972
Proposed New Yorker cover art
More Cats, 1975, as Oh yes, I remember it well . . . , pages 18-19

Ronald Searle, 1979. as Ah yes, I remember it well . . . , page 143
 Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book, 1982, as Ah yes, I remember it well . . .
Searle and Searle, 
2001, as I remember it well . . . , cat. no. 20

"I Remember It Well"
"Gigi" (1958)
Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Maurice Chevalier as Honoré
Hermione Gingold as Mamita
The MGM Studio Orchestra
André Previn, conductor


Note:  While not all cover concept proposals are deemed worthy of subsequent publication, the New Yorker was in the enviable position of receiving far too many outstanding cover submissions than they could possibly use. Original New Yorker cover submissions are eagerly sought after here whether or not they're as evocative as the current work by Ronald Searle.


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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Agatha Christie's Spider's Web

I won't try to summarize the plot to Agatha Christie's "Spider's Web" but I will say this obscure 1954 play is well worth a visit. It's tone is unusual for Christie, lighter and more humorous than one might expect from the celebrated mystery writer.

Agatha Christie's
"Spider's Web"
Princeton Summer Theater






Note:  This production is at Princeton Summer Theater through July 23.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Ronald Searle: The Fourth Republic at the Guillotine

In the May 21, 1958 issue of Punch, Ronald Searle revisits the imagery of the French Revolution in the wake of the Algiers putsch. The coup attempt of May 13 had led to the widespread concern that France lacked the resolve to put down the Algerian Revolution. Many felt a pullout from Algeria would signal a loss of French honor, another debacle comparable to that of Indochina in 1954. Hence the French Fourth Republic is depicted by Searle decapitating herself at the guillotine. It's a remarkably somber image for a Punch cartoon

Ronald Searle, Punch, May 21, 1958

Note:  All this is my unusual way of wishing everyone a Happy Bastille Day. In that spirit, Ronald Searle's grotesquely brilliant illustrations celebrating the bicentennial of the French Revolution may be seen on the Ronald Searle Tribute blog here.

At this writing, the page from Punch is available on eBay for $9.99 plus $6.01 shipping.


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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thurber's Dogs Signed by Peter Schickele

In 1994, composer Peter Schickele was commissioned to write Suite for Orchestra: Thurber's Dogs. The music is inspired by the drawings of James Thurber and was commissioned in celebration of the hundred years since Thurber's birth. Completed in 1995, the composition is every bit as delightful as the Thurber drawings which inspired it. The CD, including a small book, was released in 1996. Even back then I knew I could never make it to the signing at Tower Records, so I ordered a signed copy and had it sent to me.

Thurber's Dogs CD and Book
Composed by Peter Schickele after drawings by James Thurber

Peter Schickele's signature

Thurber's Dogs tracks


"Dog Asleep"
from Suite for Orchestra:  Thurber's Dogs (1995)
Composed by Peter Schickele after drawings by James Thurber
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, 1996
Timothy Russell, conductor



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Peter Schickele

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Thurber's Dogs Signed by James Thurber

A copy of Thurber's Dogs (1955) is signed and inscribed by Thurber in pencil with a "Happy 1956," It sold for $115 in April on eBay.

James Thurber, Thurber's Dogs (1955)

$3.95 in 1955

Inscribed "Always in/[love with?]Amy/Jim Thurber/Happy 1956"

First Printing


Dogs suffer from depression.

"There go the most intelligent of all animals."

Chapter Twenty-Three
Lo, Hear the Gentle Bloodhound!


Some paper loss to spine of dust cover

Thurber's Dogs
eBay Listing Ended April 14, 2017

Thurber's Dogs
eBay Item Description






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The New Yorker Signed by Derek Jeter

So here's a little tip from an eBay seller on how to obtain strikingly unique baseball memorabilia. While a star like Derek Jeter is waiting in line at a Starbuck's in Oakland, say, before a baseball game early in the 2007 season, simply approach him and whip out your recent subscription copy of the New Yorker and ask him to sign it. Why not use the issue with a cover by Bruce McCall, say, the one commemorating the opening of the baseball season in New York, a city blessed, as we see, with not one but two Major League baseball teams? In retrospect, it sounds so simple! By all means bring your baseball gloves to the game, people, but first why not carry a stack of appropriately-themed magazines to your local Starbucks and look for ballplayers?

Bruce McCall, The New Yorker, April 2, 2007 signed by Derek Jeter, left, and a ticket to the ball game, right

Derek Jeter's signature

Derek Jeter
eBay Listing Ended December 26, 2016

Derek Jeter
eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
One bid





Note:  The Yankees won, 4-3.


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Bruce McCall

Signed Magazine Covers

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