Saturday, February 15, 2014

George Price's Sideshow Simplified

Why did cartoonist George Price keep returning to the subject of carnival sideshows? I suspect it was the colorful cast of characters he got to draw, the so-called sideshow freaks. That would explain the original artwork sold at Illustration House on July 6, 2008, which has an interesting assortment of carnival and circus performers. The odd thing is, for the most part these odd characters add little to this cartoon; they are a bit distracting. The gag works better without them and that's how it was published.

George Price, "What sort of a job?"
Preliminary artwork for the New Yorker, April 18, 1942, page 17

Only two of the figures were retained in the published version, the ones having the conversation, and the setting was changed.
George Price, "What sort of a job?"
The New Yorker, April 18, 1942, page 17

George Price, "What sort of a job?"
The New Yorker, April 18, 1942, page 17

The published version also appears in Price's collection Who's in Charge Here? (1943).
George Price, "What sort of a job?"
Who's in Charge Here? New York:  Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1943

Note:  Comparing preliminary artwork for the New Yorker with the final published version says a lot about the thought processes and intentions of the artists, art directors, and editors involved. I've been lucky enough to collect a few examples of preliminary New Yorker work on the blog which you can see here. I'd love to be able to show more. Please contact me if you have any roughs or variants of published cartoons to share.

My ongoing run of blog posts on George Price tend to go in several different directions, but they usually start out with my finding an example of original artwork, and I'm quickly running out of those. If you're sitting on any original George Price artwork, by all means consider letting the world see it here. Some older auctions like this one tend to vanish from the auction house's website and disappear behind paywalls. Just look at the contortions I've gone through to report on this auction. If you have access to old auction material, I'd love to hear about that too. In the meantime, check out my series of posts on this artist here.

I don't have many blog posts here that can be considered about President's Day per se, but a few do deal with aspects of the Presidency in a way you just don't see every day. See them here.


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