Thursday, February 28, 2013

George Price's Jack of All Trades

It has become commonplace for us to blame unsuccessful men for showing a lack of initiative in their work. Well, here's a situation where that's clearly not the case. In the days before the gas station mini-mart, it's hard to conceive of anything this poor service station owner could do to drum up more business. And just look at the price of gasoline!

George Price's marvelously detailed 1952 New Yorker cartoon tells its rather expansive story with his usual exacting line work, competent one-point perspective, and a lot of signage. The original artwork has changed hands at least twice in recent years, and it has undergone some restoration along the way. The earlier sale was at Skinner in 2010.
George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
Original artwork for The New Yorker, June 28, 1952, page 18

George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
Original artwork for The New Yorker, June 28, 1952, page 18

****

I'm not sure exactly when or for how much, but this same piece was also offered by Taraba Illustration Art, certainly more recently. The discolored paper overlay bearing the signature has now been treated by a paper conservator. Note how much better it looks now.
George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
Original artwork for The New Yorker, June 28, 1952, page 18
Caption

George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
Detail with signature
Taraba Illustration Art Listing

George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
The New Yorker, June 28, 1952, page 18

George Price, "At least you have to give him credit for trying."
The New Yorker, June 28, 1952, page 18

0637

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sequestration: No Honeymoon in Niagara Falls


Mischa Richter, Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty in a Barrel

I purchased this drawing by cartoonist Mischa Richter in 2008 on a whim purely because I liked it. It's a cartoon rough, of course, rather than a finished drawing, and it resembles a series of published New Yorker gags from the early 1990's in which Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty trade quips, much like an old married couple. I have no idea what contemporary events prompted Richter to conceive this one, with Sam and Miss Liberty going over a waterfall together in a barrel, but it seems it wasn't deemed quite right for the magazine at the time.

Today the news from Washington shows our elected representatives facing a dire crisis entirely of their own making. The current battle over sequestration is one of a series of increasingly reckless, self-inflicted wounds that threatens our security, our economy, and our government's ability to meet its most basic obligations. This sad situation has come about not out of necessity but by choice, with one political party putting its ideology above the needs of the country. Again.

Perhaps our representatives will come to an agreement before Friday's deadline, and perhaps this time they won't. Perhaps they'll do a temporary fix again and we'll face another artificial crisis in a few weeks. Either way, our fragile democracy seems increasingly dysfunctional. Anyway, this just might be a good time to share Mischa Richter's once-again relevant cartoon, in the increasingly vain hope that it will not reflect our nation's true condition come Friday.

Mischa Richter, Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty in a Barrel

0636

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

David Pascal's Copy of The Art of The New Yorker

About four years ago I purchased a somewhat worn copy of Lee Lorenz's The Art of The New Yorker 1925-1995 on eBay. I already had a good, clean copy, of course, but this one boasted the signatures of five cartoonists and included two small ink drawings, both of faces, by Jack Ziegler and Roz Chast. So why not? My wife was already used to my frequent habit of purchasing multiple copies of the same book, and she'd pretty much given up on convincing me that this was not the most prudent course of behavior in a cramped city apartment.

Somewhat unusually, the book's original recipient appended his own recollection of the signing event in copious penciled notes dated September 15, 1995 on the back endpapers. I never had any inkling whose copy of the book this was, other than someone named David who had longstanding relationships with some of The New Yorker's cartoonists. In preparing this post, though, the personal nature of some of these reflections prompted me to do a little research and now I can reliably identify the book's original owner as cartoonist David Pascal (1918-2003), an occasional contributor to the magazine with a distinctively loose and flowing ink style who is himself not mentioned in this volume.

David Pascal recalls the signing: "There were very few cartoonists at this affair. I doubt if there was as many as twenty. 95% of the people there were unknown to me, + probably New Yorker employees." The inevitable conclusion, then, is that of the almost twenty cartoonists present, Pascal obtained signatures from five, plus one from the versatile George Plimpton among whose sundry careers was decidedly not that of cartoonist.

In additional notations, Mr. Pascal has penciled in the names of the five artists next to their signatures, even misspelling Mr. Ziegler's name. For good measure, apparently, he rewrote Lee Lorenz's inscription in capital letters, although he seems to have been stumped by the first word Let's.

As in let's have a look already:


Lee Lorenz, The Art of The New Yorker 1925 - 1995, Ex-Collection David Pascal

Greetings to David Pascal from Cartoonists Jack Ziegler, Ed Fisher, and Roz Chast

Title Page Greetings to David Pascal from Edward Sorel and Lee Lorenz with Pencil Annotations by the Recipient


Greetings from George Plimpton with a Drawing--of Sorts

Here's the text from the original 2009 eBay listing that brought this unique volume my way. There were a total of three bids.

From the Original eBay Listing, April 9, 2009
The eBay Winning Bid, April 9, 2009
The eBay Seller, April 9, 2009

Pascal's wife Teri is mentioned in his notes, and it is this biographical detail that allowed me to identify him as the book's original owner.
David Pascal's Biography from the National Cartoonist Society Website
http://www.reuben.org/ncs/members/memorium/pascal.jpg


Note:  There may have been as many as four-hundred people in attendance at this one signing event, although that number seems improbable to me. Whatever the true number, just think of all the interesting signed books that must be out there! If you should have such a book in your personal library, particularly one with a distinctive original drawing by a New Yorker artist, and if you'd like to share a couple of photos or scans of it here on this very blog, why, all you need to do is contact me. I just love looking at these things and so do my readers. What else would they be doing here?

0635

Monday, February 25, 2013

Boston Tea Party Tie

This red Hermès silk tie, design 7536 IA, shows tea leaves, a tea service, and a tea container. So while the basic tea motif is clear, I still can't quite make the leap to interpreting this design as the "Boston Tea Party."

Hermès Silk Tie 7536 IA "Boston Tea Party"
Hermès Silk Tie 7536 IA "Boston Tea Party"
Hermès Silk Tie 7536 IA "Boston Tea Party"
Hermès Silk Tie 7536 IA "Boston Tea Party," eBay Winning Bid

Hermès Silk Tie 7536 IA "Boston Tea Party," eBay Item Description
http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-REAL-HERMES-TIE-DARK-RED-w-WHIMSICAL-STORY-OF-TEA-BOSTON-TEA-PARTY-/230915177502?nma=true&si=VJo29%252F7WbHpl1SY9gWmnl4%252FkT80%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

0634

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hello and Hi to Vasco Mourão

Once again, illustrator Vasco Mourão has had a piece published in The New Yorker, this time a whimsical spot drawing. I have remarked before on his New York Perceptions, impossible architectural fantasies which may seem utterly solid and convincing at first glance. A peek at the artist's website gives an idea of his rangewhile his blog, which includes a series of daily sketches, conveys that his precise drawings are done fairly quickly. While no one expects too much from a spot drawing, this particular one shows the artist has a sense of fun as well.


Vasco Mourão, Spot Drawing, The New Yorker, February 11 and 18, 2013, page 100
0633

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Arthur Szyk's Book of Esther

Last month Swann Galleries sold this limited edition copy (330/400) of Arthur Szyk's beautifully illustrated Megillat Esther from 1925. The Book of Esther is read every year on Purim.


Arthur Szyk, from Megillat Esther
Swann Galleries, January 24, 2013


Arthur Szyk, from Megillat Esther
Swann Galleries, January 24, 2013

632

Ed Arno: The Art Show at No. 70-70

Another original children's book manuscript by cartoonist Ed Arno was recently sold on eBay. It comes out of the artist's estate and is called The Art Show at No. 70-70.

Ed Arno, The Art Show at No. 70-70







http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-New-Yorker-Ed-Arno-Childrens-Book-Original-Manuscript-w-Illustrations-/281038245942?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416f2f5036&nma=true&si=VJo29%252F7WbHpl1SY9gWmnl4%252FkT80%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

631

Friday, February 22, 2013

You Were Just DiVine

Shortly after entering Disney's Animal Kingdom five years ago, I was surprised to run into DiVine, the park's "living vine." It's not unusual to be surprised by her as her camouflage is, well, superhuman. I didn't even know who she was until after the fact. I took a hasty video of her walking into the park away from the entrance.

DiVine
 DiVine Walking
Disney's Animal Kingdom
March 19, 2008

 0630

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Another Reason to Go to Medical School

Pin-up art isn't really my thing. Neither is medical humor, at least that's what I keep telling everyone here. But put the two together, and I find myself unexpectedly delighted.

Gil Elvgren's "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" from 1946 was published in the 1952 Brown & Bigelow wall calendar. It is an unashamedly adolescent view of medical practice, including a disrobed young woman not-too-effectively covering herself with a bedsheet, while sporting the fancy hairdo, makeup, jewelry, and high heels that were supposedly a part of every young man's fantasies. Despite their profession, the unseen team of leering interns is essentially no different from the calendar's devotees in their appreciation of cheesecake. Today, it all seems kind of innocent and even amusing, at least until you read the facile rhyme that was appended to the published calendar.

I like the fact that this comes from a doctor's estate and I salute the memory of Alfred W. Wagner, M.D. After this purchase, his medical rounds must have seemed quite commonplace.

This illustration will be sold on April 11-12 at Heritage. No estimate has been published yet, but I'd guess this should fetch $80,000 to $120,000 at least.

Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946. 
Brown & Bigelow Calendar, September 1952
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Gil Elvgren's signature

Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" Framed, 1946
Brown & Bigelow Calendar, September 1952
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

The Back of the Frame

Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946. 
Brown & Bigelow Calendar September 1952
Image added April 13, 2013

Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946. 
Brown & Bigelow Calendar September 1952
Image added April 13, 2013

Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946
Brown & Bigelow Calendar September 1952
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013


Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946.
 Brown & Bigelow Calendar, September 1952

September check-ups are the way
To keep yourself in shape
But too many cooks can spoil the broth,
And too many doctors--gape.


Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946
Brown & Bigelow Calendar September 1952
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

April 1, 2013 Update:  Heritage's actual published estimate is $40,000 to $60,000, which I think may be a little on the low side.

April 13, 2013 Update:  It turns out I was wrong and Heritage's estimate was pretty good. Evidently, I was swayed by my feelings for the subject!
Gil Elvgren, "Doctor, Are All Those Fellow Interns?" 1946
Brown & Bigelow Calendar September 1952
Heritage Auctions Winning Bid, April 11, 2013

0629

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Richard Taylor's Wrong Bag

The original artwork to Richard Taylor's 1959 Wrong Bag cartoon was sold on eBay in June. I don't usually go in for medical humor, particularly humor making fun of doctor's incomes, but this one I happen to like. The 1961 cartoon collection R. Taylor's Wrong Bag derives its name from this classic cartoon.

Many gags of this era mocked physicians for their wealth, but note that the doctor is making a house call, something that today is nearly nonexistent. No doubt Taylor and others thought that financial remuneration was a good reason for going to medical school. In tomorrow's post, I'll set the record straight by showing an even better reason to attend medical school.

"Pshaw!  I grabbed the wrong  bag."
Richard Taylor, Original Artwork for The New Yorker, September 19, 1959, Page 35
R. Taylor's Wrong Bag. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961, Page 5

"Pshaw!  I grabbed the wrong  bag."
Richard Taylor, Original Artwork for The New Yorker, September 19, 1959, Page 35
 R. Taylor's Wrong Bag. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961, Page 5

R. Taylor's Signature

Doctor Detail

Patient Detail

Doctor Detail

Patient Detail


Richard Taylor's Wrong Bag eBay Item Description
[End of eBay Listing]



My Battered Copy of R. Taylor's Wrong Bag (1961) Cover

R. Taylor's Wrong Bag (1961) Back Cover

The back cover illustration was originally a cartoon in The New Yorker.
Richard Taylor, "The poor dear was one of the world's greatest big-game hunters until
the Gaekwar of Baroda mistook him for a water buffalo."
The New Yorker, February 18, 1956, Page 31
Image added May 9, 2013



R. Taylor's Wrong Bag, Page 5






Richard Taylor, "Pshaw!  I grabbed the wrong bag"
The New Yorker, September 19, 1959, Page 35

Richard Taylor, "Pshaw!  I grabbed the wrong bag"
The New Yorker, September 19, 1959, Page 35

"Pshaw!  I grabbed the wrong  bag."
Richard Taylor, Original Artwork for The New Yorker, September 19, 1959, Page 35

 R. Taylor's Wrong Bag. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961, Page 5


March 27, 2016 Update:  The discovery of a cartoon by Irwin Caplan very similar to this one  has led me to write a new post revisiting this cartoon.

0628