Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Asking Santa

Are you hoping to get something special this Christmas? In the January 1941 issue of Esquire, cartoonist Barbara Shermund demonstrates how the modern woman gets it done.
"Don't bother with anything but diamonds[.]"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1941, page 32


The reds, the greens, the whites, and the grays invoke New York in the Christmas season. The background is handled deftly and convincingly. The three main figures are of different heights, yet they are arranged in space so that their heads align at roughly the same level. But the real masterstroke of the composition is how the woman leaning over to address the sidewalk Santa Claus is really talking to her husband. You can see it all in how she pulls his arm.


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Costume Consternation

Barbara Shermund's cartoons for Esquire often display a different sensibility than her New Yorker work. On a 1941 full-color page that functions as much as a pin-up as a gag cartoon, we are asked to find humor in the perplexity of a naive young woman ignorant of the effect her Santa costume has on grown men.
"I can't understand it—the costume seems to fool the smaller children
all right but the big boys seem to be skeptical[.]"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1941, page 51



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Monday, December 10, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #642

Grab a fork and check out my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #642 for December 10, 2018. The drawing is by Mick Stevens.


"It's so good you'll think it's illegal—except in New Jersey."



Note:  Last week cartoonist Mark Thompson brought the flock in. Go to Contest #641 and have a crook-see.

Then enjoy a slice out of the archives on the subject of Mick Stevens.


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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Not Abnormal

Three years into the New Yorker's run, the single-panel gag cartoon had been completely reimagined. Barbara Shermund's sumptuous original art from 1928, offered for sale in 2014 by Carlson & Stevenson, carries the caption "I don't think he's abnormal—he's just versatile." In her history Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (2005), Liza Donnelly writes of this cartoon, "...the caption can be read two ways, straight or gay..." (p. 59).


"I don't think he's abnormal—he's just versatile."
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, July 21, 1928, page 12


In publishing such a smartly ambiguous cartoon caption, was the New Yorker now on its own atop the teeming world of humor magazines? It certainly seems so. Already the young upstart of a magazine had no equal in nuance. How did it happen so quickly that the New Yorker came to find its voice and allow an unknown artist like Barbara Shermund to find hers?


Carlson & Stevenson
Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, & Antique Show Catalog 2014 
Published on Jan 22, 2014 page 53



Carlson & Stevenson

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, & Antique Show Catalog 2014 
Published on Jan 22, 2014 page 53







Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and C. W. Anderson


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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Level-Headed

When single-speaker captions came into their own—as opposed to the older convention of having two speakers exchanging lines of dialogue—it became practical to populate a cartoon with even larger groupings of figures engaged in conversation. The cartoonist merely had to indicate which individual was doing the speaking and which others were waiting their turn and doing the listening. An original 1927 New Yorker cartoon by Barbara Shermund from Carlson & Stevenson Antiques of Manchester, Vermont, is a beautiful example of this. Three long-limbed young women lounge outdoors on an impossibly perfect summer's day but only one is doing the talking. The topic, as it happens, is a fourth young woman who is apparently quite sensible, for a reason one might not readily guess.

"Oh my, she's very leveled-headed—her father was a lawyer!" 
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, July 30, 1927, page 18
Framed and matted, measuring 29.5 inches high by 34 inches wide


Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and Al Frueh
Note:  Editor Harold Ross's initial R, his personal approval for this cartoon to appear in the magazine, is shown in the inset.


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Friday, December 7, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Just Talking....

An example of original cartoon art created by Barbara Shermund for the New Yorker in 1930 is presented in an ad by art dealers Carlson and Stevenson. The stock market crash happened a year earlier, but you'd never know it from the drawing. The three women are fashionably turned out and not coincidentally represent the sort of young, educated demographic which the magazine was actively courting. Cigarette smoking was taken to be a sign of women's independence and sophistication; our trio is accompanied by three distinct plumes of smoke which run more or less parallel to the curtains off to the right.

"Oh, she talked a lot, but she didn't give anything."
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, October 4, 1930, page 33



The composition is based on the three women's heads forming a triangle with the speaker at the apex. The women on either side lean in toward her; all together they can be seen as forming the outline of a diamond. The lines of the center chair lead the eye back up to the speaker as do the legs of the woman on the right and the right-hand edge of the table.

The caption is better balanced with the simple addition of "a lot." The central dash has been replaced in the published cartoon with a less-obtrusive comma. Sometimes it takes a little work to make a drawing appear to be effortless.


The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show 2015 Catalogue, page 121


Cartoons by Leonard Dove
and Barbara Shermund

https://archives.newyorker.com/?i=1930-10-04#folio=032


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Art Appreciation

Cartoonist Barbara Shermund's fashionable young ladies demonstrate a keen appreciation of—let's call it art—in a vintage 1927 New Yorker cartoon. The original drawing, from Vermont dealers Carlson & Stevenson, demonstrates her concern for textural detail and exhibits a surprisingly generous use of correction fluid, more prominent now that the paper has faded.

It is somewhat jarring to see how this cartoon was laid out in the magazine, spanning the inside columns across two facing pages. It must have been thought this central placement at the upper part of the page would provide balance to the extra-long drawing by Helen E. Hokinson across the bottom with its odd segmented title. This placement does a disservice to the Shermund drawing, disrupting its careful interior spacing. 
"Go right on working—we won't mind!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, June 4, 1927, pages 22-23
Framed and matted, 27.5 inches high by 35 inches wide



Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and Helen E. Hokinson


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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Hooked!

Carlson & Stevenson Antiques has been promoting original pieces by cartoonist Barbara Shermund for the past four years or so. An original watercolor of hers shows the apparent downside to successfully catching a fish, particularly for the squeamish. We are told the work was created for Esquire in the early 1950s. Now that Esquire's archive is online, it's safe to ask whether this is all a fish story.

True, the caption might have been radically altered for publication, but in its present form search results of the Esquire data base come up with nothing. Furthermore, the horizontal cartoon format seen here would not be at all typical for Esquire. Still this cartoon may have been reproduced in another magazine, or perhaps in the Sunday panel strip Shermund's Sallies.
"Good heavens, Gloria, now you'll have to put another worm on the hook!"
Barbara Shermund
Original cartoon art

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show 2018 
Published on Feb 6, 2018, page 38



Note:  Anyone knowing the publication history of this cartoon is urged to come forward.

Attempted Bloggery continues to seek images of original cartoon art by Barbara Shermund for likely inclusion in future blog posts.


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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Beach Talk

A few years back Carlson & Stevenson Antiques of Manchester, Vermont acquired a series of original drawings by cartoonist Barbara Shermund. These drawings were promoted at art and antiques shows in San Francisco and Palm Beach.

A color cartoon reproduced on a promotional page from a Palm Beach show catalogue depicts two young women on the beach sporting two-piece bathing suits. They are discussing another woman's selection of a husband. The art dealers claim that the cartoon was published in the May 1950 issue of Esquire.
"She married a young architect—she liked the
way he was building his bank account."

Barbara Shermund
Original cartoon art

Barbara Shermund
Palm Beach Jewelry Art & Antique Show 2015 

Published on Dec 30, 2014, page 43



Note:  The entire Esquire archive is now online and it seems this cartoon may not be from Esquire at all. It certainly does not appear in the May 1950 issue. The wordplay, quite frankly, is a bit on the weak side.

The question then remains, where was it published?

Just a reminder: Attempted Bloggery seeks images of original art by Barbara Shermund for inclusion in future blog posts.


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Monday, December 3, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #641

Gather round for my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #641 for November 26, 2018. The drawing is by Mark Thompson.

"For heaven's sake, not a word of this to Bo-Peep."



December 10, 2018 Update:  The Finalists



Note:  Last time cartoonist Tom Toro gave us a mouse exercising mastery over a cat. My caption didn't demonstrate any mastery over anything whatsoever. Go ahead, take Contest #640 for a ride around the block.

This is cartoonist Mark Thompson's first appearance on Attempted Bloggery. I'm only too happy to shepherd him in.


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