Monday, April 28, 2014

The Bewildered Sentry: Constantin Alajálov Preliminary New Yorker Cover Art

My survey of the works of Constantin Alajálov in the collection of the Clark Art Institute continues with an example of preliminary New Yorker cover art, the only such example in their collection. The title Fatigue Duty already appears on another Alajálov work of preliminary New Yorker art discussed here last week, so I'll use the alternative title of The Bewildered Sentry which I prefer for this piece anyway. Beyond that helpful alternative title, the Clark's online description doesn't have all that much to say about the art:

Constantin Alajálov, Fatigue Duty or The Bewildered Sentry,
Collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Fatigue Duty or The Bewildered Sentry Museum Description,
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

This preliminary wartime New Yorker cover artwork was simplified and improved upon for publication. The subject of the preliminary art is the summer heat, while the subject of the published August 1943 cover is body heat. The thermometer has been eliminated from the strap on the side of the finished artwork. The sentry, who once held his forward right knee awkwardly hyperextended, now strides confidently with his left foot forward and his knee slightly flexed. Most of the folks on the beach have been written out of the script, leaving only our sentry and a quintet of sunbathing women. From the published cover, it's hard to say just what the sentry is thinking, but we readily can guess what is on the young women's minds.

Constantin Alajálov, Preliminary artwork to The New Yorker, August 14, 1943,
Collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Constantin Alajálov, The New Yorker, August 14, 1943

Note:  Why, yes, I have more to say on the New Yorker work of Constantin Alajálov here.

More examples of preliminary New Yorker cover art may be seen here.

Further posts about the Second World War may be seen here.


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