Thursday, November 15, 2018

Barbara Shermund's Prize-Winner

Not all mothers are easily fooled. A cartoon by Barbara Shermund published in the March 1939 issue of Esquire depicts a young woman coming home to her mother after a night on the town carrying an expensive necklace fresh out of its jewelry box. Her mother has seen this before; she already knows what story she's about to be told and she anticipates it with apparent sarcasm. The joke, of course, is that we all can suppose we know how her attractive daughter really obtained the jewelry.

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

The rendition of the two women in the foyer is quite lovely, but the caption, I think, is weak. "Prize contest" just sounds wrong to the ear. Simply referring to a "contest" would have served better.

On the original art, the artist's signature is cut off by the mounting, which is inexcusable. But even more inexcusable is that the signature in the published cartoon is cut off at the same place. Eighty years ago, Esquire demonstrated a certain slovenliness in how it presented the work of its talented cartoonists. Did anyone even notice?

The original artwork has been sold on eBay twice in the past two years. The more recent listing is the more thorough one, and it makes use of Classic Esquire's new online archive.


Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended December 4, 2016

Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description

Barbara Shermund
eBay Bid History
It pays to wait. A bid in the final four seconds takes the prize.



The same piece was resold two years later on eBay, and at a profit: 
"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Matted original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Matted original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

Barbara Shermund's partially-obscured signature

The handwritten caption on the matte

Verso

Detail of verso with writing

Detail of stamp on Verso

Esquire's mascot Esky was created by E. Simms Campbell. The March 1939 magazine cover of Esky showing off on ice skates is illustrated with a sculpture by Arthur Von Frankenberg.
Arthur Von Frankenberg
Esquire, March 1939 

Esquire, March 1939, pages 124-125

Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended September 30, 2018


Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description
Barbara Shermund
eBay Bid History
With only one bidder, bid strategy didn't matter here, but placing a single early bid still can't be recommended.






Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks scans or photos of original artwork by Barbara Shermund for possible inclusion in future blog posts. Now how many blogs can say that?


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Barbara Shermund: A Penny for Your Thoughts

Barbara Shermund's redhead wears a sexy, diaphanous, dress and sits alluringly on a loveseat in Mr. Caldwell's den surrounded by his collection of erotic art. She wonders out loud what could be on the much older gentleman's mind. Is she simply naive or is she playing her cards exactly right? Many of Barbara Shermund's young women seem to know exactly how to get what they want. This particular cartoon, I think, can be read either way with pleasure.

The original framed Esquire cartoon art was sold last year on eBay with an accepted best offer of something less than $695.95. No information was provided regarding publication history, although Ms. Shermund was correctly cited in the listing's title as a "Known Esquire Artist." Indeed she is. Esquire's archive is now online allowing us to confirm that this lovely drawing was published on a full page in the magazine, during the spring of 1940.

"A penny for your thoughts, Mr Caldwell."
Barbara Shermund
Original art, Esquire, April 1, 1940

Barbara Shermund's signature is partially obscured by the matte, evidence of a substandard framing job.

Detail of the ingénue

Detail of Mr. Caldwell

Detail of the principal figures

The caption is handwritten on the matte.

A close-up of Barbara Shermund's partially-obscured signature

Detail with see-through dress

Detail


Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended January 25, 2018
Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description






https://classic.esquire.com/article/1940/4/1/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-mr-caldwell



Note:  Scans or photos of original artwork by Barbara Shermund are welcomed here on Attempted Bloggery.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two Sallies by Barbara Shermund

Two original midcentury color cartoons by Barbara Shermund bear markings indicating Sunday release dates. This may identify them as original art created for Shermund's Sallies, a Sunday panel strip published in the pictorial sections of newspapers. The colors are rich and lush and unlike anything that could have been captured on newsprint. Let's see what her ladies are up to:

Two color originals by Barbara Shermund


The later 1951 cartoon shows a secretary commandeering her boss's desk, turning the tables on him, so to speak.
"Gosh, Mr. Sheldon, give me a little time to rest up from my vacation."
Barbara Shermund
Original Shermund's Sallies[?] cartoon art, September 16, 1951

Barbara Shermund's signature

Detail


A notation over the caption indicates that the earlier 1947 cartoon may have been reversed in the printing process. Why should that be? The cartoon already reads well this way; from left to right we see the man and woman admiring the stars before we spy the pair of women surreptitiously commenting on them.
"She's clever! In a minute she'll have him switched to sapphires!"
Barbara Shermund
Original Shermund's Sallies[?] cartoon art, August 24, 1947


Versos



Detail of markings on the verso of the 1951 cartoon

Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Retrieved February 20, 2017

eBay Item Description




Note:  Please comment if you can confirm that these cartoons were published when and where I believe they were. I would like to add images of the published cartoons to this post.


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Mickey Goes Bananas

Mickey Mouse turns ninety this month! The last place I expected to see this milestone noted was on a bunch of Dole bananas. But stickers don't lie.

The earliest cartoon short with Mickey Mouse was "Plane Crazy" (1928), and that seems to be the origin of the Mickey Mouse we see on the label. It was actually Mickey's second animated short subject, "Steamboat Willie," that was the first Ito be released on November 18, 1928. These early incarnations are not the bland, well-behaved Mickey we have come to know, but he does already show some spunk. What is also on display here is Disney's "udderly" bad taste, some casual cruelty to animals, and what today we would term Mickey's harassment of Minnie while airborne.

Walt Disney's "Plane Crazy" (1928)
Animated by Ub Iwerks



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