Monday, February 20, 2017

James Stevenson: Unease with the Office of the President

Original artwork for the July 8, 1961 New Yorker shows how the late James Stevenson (1929-2017) extensively reworked his gag in preparation for publication. We can see the meticulous cutting and pasting he did to get not only the image of the president playing paddle ball just right, but also the two gentlemen discussing their concern for him. This was in 1961. Today where could we find a president whose erratic behavior is perceived as cause for grave concern?

"Just between us, I'm beginning to feel uneasy with Blackwell at the helm"
James Stevenson, original art, The New Yorker, July 8, 1961, page 24
Detail with paste-ups

James Stevenson's signature

eBay Listing Ended March 28, 2013

eBay Item Description

"Just between us, I'm beginning to feel uneasy with Blackwell at the helm"
James Stevenson, original art, The New Yorker, July 8, 1961, page 24

"Just between us, I'm beginning to feel uneasy with Blackwell at the helm"
James Stevenson, The New Yorker, July 8, 1961, page 24

"Just between us, I'm beginning to feel uneasy with Blackwell at the helm"
James Stevenson, The New Yorker, July 8, 1961, page 24

Note:  The world is just now absorbing the passing of New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson (1929-2017). Attempted Bloggery would like to hear from anyone with original artwork, correspondence, or other mementos that shed light on this important cartoonist.

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James Stevenson (1929-2017)
Original New Yorker Cartoon Art

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #557

It's time to serve up my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #557 for February 13, 2017. The drawing is by Harry Bliss.
"Wait a minute—like WHOSE mother used to make?"

Note:  Last time, cartoonist P. C. Vey cooked up a space opera. My caption couldn't fire its booster rockets, but you can stil launch into Contest #556.

The blog archives have yet more temptation from Harry Bliss.

Adam and Eve—we've seen them here before.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Barney Tobey: George Washington Stopped Here

An old cliche is that every place George Washington ever stayed or ate or slept had a sign commemorating that momentous event. Cartoonist Barney Tobey takes a look at whether such historical markers have much practical significance to the ordinary visitor. His cartoon was published in Collier's circa July 1940 according to a notation on the art and was anthologized the following year in Collier's Collects Its Wits. It was listed at eBay for $129 but it has some obvious condition issues. A potential buyer offered $40 and the seller countered with $49, the sale price. Tobey's handwritten caption appears on the original under the mat along with production markings.

Enjoy Presidents' Day weekend!

"I don't care if Washington did stop here—this steak is tough."
Barney Tobey, original art, Collier's, c. July 1940
Collier's Collects Its Wits, 1941

"I don't care if Washington did stop here—this steak is tough."
Barney Tobey, framed original art, Collier's, c. July 1940
Collier's Collects Its Wits, 1941

Barney Tobey's signature

Note:  New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson (1929-2017) has passed away. Old Attempted Bloggery posts that mention him may be seen here.

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Barney Tobey
George Washington
Original Collier's Cartoon Art

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Edward Sorel: Presidential Portraits

Edward Sorel delivers the goods: caricatures of some Presidents who appear on American currency. That's a thoughtful George Washington from the one, Andrew Jackson from the twenty, and Abraham Lincoln from the five enjoying a jest with Washington. Happy Presidents' Day Weekend!

Edward Sorel, George Washington

Edward Sorel, Andrew Jackson

Edward Sorel, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
Swann Galleries, January 22, 2015, Sale 2372, Lot 208
Hammer Price

Price with Buyer's Premium

Note:  New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson (1929-2017) has passed away. Old Attempted Bloggery posts that mention him may be seen here.

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Edward Sorel
George Washington
Abraham Lincoln

Friday, February 17, 2017

Richard Merkin: The New Yorker's 1993 Anniversary

The New Yorker's 1993 anniversary party was held on February 18th at the Manhattan Center on West 43rd St. Art for the invitation was commissioned from Richard Merkin, who imagined it as a festive 1920's affair. Merkin's original art showed up on eBay in 2015 and sold for a proverbial Tin Pan Alley song. As an aside, the eBay seller's name is not what they teach you in marketing school.

Richard Merkin, original art, The New Yorker 1993 anniversary party invitation

Richard Merkin's signature

Richard Merkin's signature

Richard Merkin's initials

EBay Listing Ended June 23, 2015

eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
Two last-minute bids fail to win it.

Note:  Thanks to cartoonist, blogger, and Peter Arno biographer Michael Maslin for having the presence of mind to preserve his copy of the invitation to the 1993 anniversary party in his archive.

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Richard Merkin
The New Yorker


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The New Yorker Prospectus

THE NEW YORKER will be a reflection in word and picture of metropolitan life. It will be human. Its general tenor will be one of gaiety, wit and satire, but it will be more than a jester. It will be not what is commonly called sophisticated, in that it will assume a reasonable degree of enlightenment on the part of its readers. It will hate bunk.

So opens Harold Ross's 1924 prospectus for The New Yorker, which was to first hit newsstands this week in 1925. Note that Rea Irvin's famous magazine logo was already finalized and Irvin is listed among the fledgling magazine's ten advisory editors. The prospectus is most famous, though, for its concluding paragraph;

THE NEW YORKER will be the magazine which is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque. It will not be concerned in what she is thinking about. This is not meant in disrespect, but THE NEW YORKER is a magazine avowedly published for a metropolitan audience and thereby will escape an influence which hampers most national publications. It expects a considerable national circulation, but this will come from persons who have a metropolitan interest.

Would you invest in the New Yorker in 1924? Or might you be dissuaded by that talk of the old lady in Dubuque? Today, would you invest in a nice copy of the 1924 prospectus? One in very good condition was sold last year on eBay:

eBay Listing ended March 4, 2016

eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
Two fairly lackluster bids

More readable scans of the prospectus are published on Magazine History:  A Collector's Blog.

Note:  You're in luck! You now have enough information to spot the inside joke on my Twitter profile.

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Harold Ross
Rea Irvin
The Old Lady in Dubuque