Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ronald Searle: The Joys of Housework

"Searle is surely one of the finest (if not indeed the very best) of all-around cartoonists and illustrators in our day. Searle's work continues to be the despair of all black-and-white men everywhere, and I say this without fear of being called a segregationist."
--Walt Kelly, as quoted on the dust jacket of From Frozen North to Filthy Lucre (1964)
The great Walt Kelly himself, easily one of the very best "black-and-white men" ever in the comic pages, recognized Ronald Searle's singular gift with pen and ink. While Searle's watercolor technique was absolutely formidable, his black-and-white work showed if anything an even greater level of mastery. Searle came to use more and more color for magazine illustrations in the course of his career, but newspaper illustrations, with a few exceptions for new color presses, remained black-and-white and were always exceptional work.

The illustration for Mary Blume's "Action Menagere" ["Action Housewife"] is inscribed "Superwoman" by the artist, according to the Chris Beetles Gallery. It depicts a frenetic homemaker terrorizing her daughter and house pets with a vacuum cleaner. The illustration appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Paris on October 11, 1997. An English translation of the essay appeared on that same date in the New York Times with the title "Joys of Housework: The Way We Clean." The original artwork was sold by Chris Beetles no later than March of 2014 for 3,500 GBP.

Ronald Searle, Superwoman,
International Herald Tribune, Paris, October 11, 1997

Note:  The blog archives are replete with posts about Ronald Searle. Would I steer you wrong?

You can never get enough Searle, right? Check out Perpetua, the Ronald Searle Tribute Blog.

There are many posts here about the great Walt Kelly as well. Try a few. Not only is he quotable, he handles a mean brush.


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