In early 2009, Bonhams sold this small preliminary drawing by Peter Arno. Police are booking a drunken man who has lost his memory but not his arrogance. The final, published version of the drawing from The New Yorker is also shown below. It's composition is quite similar to the preliminary version, but Arno has zoomed in on the three main characters bringing them closer together and heightening the tension.
Peter Arno, "He can't remember his name, Sergeant. All he remembers is he's somebody pretty damned important." Preliminary artwork, The New Yorker, June 6, 1942, Page 14
Sale 16937 - Fine Books and Manuscripts, 15 Feb 2009
Lot No: 1049
ARNO, PETER. 1904-1968.
Pen and ink and wash on thick paper, 14 x 13 inches, signed ("Peter Arno"), 1942, with caption pasted below illustration, depicting a well-dressed man a police officer before a police sergeant, image toned, else fine.
Arno was an illustrator for the New Yorker from 1925 to his death in 1968. This image is copyrighted for that magazine and likely appeared in print in 1942. The caption reads: "He can't remember his name, Sergeant. All he remembers is he's somebody pretty [damned] important."
Sold for $1,464 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
|Peter Arno, "He can't remember his name, Sergeant. All he|
remembers is he's somebody pretty damned important."
The New Yorker, June 6, 1942, page 14
Image replaced April 19, 2014
Note: Peter Arno was quite prolific, yet not all that many of his preliminary drawings are known to us. If you have access to original Arno rough artwork, please be a dear reader and provide me with a good scan here at Blog Central. I'd love to see what you've got. And, quite possibly, so would the world.
Incidentally, my 200th blog post, "A Shaggy Dog Story," also concerned Peter Arno and my own changing appreciation of the fine arts over time. It can be enjoyed here--when you're sober, of course.