Friday, December 27, 2013

Broadway Theater Aisle: New Yorker "Probable Cover" Art

Two well-dressed, older couples make their way slowly down a Broadway theater aisle after everyone else is already seated. The men, without benefit of an usher, look somewhat lost as they extend their necks at extreme angulations; the overdressed women look rather imperious and don't condescend to open their eyes.

When Heritage Auctions originally listed this drawing, the artist was improbably identified as William Steig. This unsigned art, though, is a bit crude and looks nothing like anything Steig ever drew, but at some point somebody did write the artist's name on the back. The auction house now identifies the creator as merely American Artist, which is almost certainly correct if not very helpful. They describe the art with the words "probable cover," but probably not is more like it. There are no absolute rules for what a New Yorker cover should look like, but it generally should have a clear focus, good design, and it should make a strong artistic or humorous point. This piece is likely a rough cover proposal never purchased by the magazine. At auction, it was not sold--again.

Note:  The artist at present is unidentified, but perhaps you can help. Other blog posts of mine with artwork by unknown or anonymous artists can be seen here.

A few other examples of proposed New Yorker cover art not published in the magazine may be found here.

If you'd like to see the Broadway side of this blog, click here.


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