Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for July/August 2014

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, here are my five entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for July/August 2014. This magazine's caption contest permits multiple entries. As always, the cartoon is by Bob Mankoff, who also serves as judge.

“It isn’t your client’s sexual orientation that bothers me.”
"Where does your client stand?"
“Do you both understand the gravity of the charges?”
"I'll have no flip-flopping in my court."
“… And three counts of stealing the patents to antigravity shoes.”

I thought my second caption was probably the best, but then I really don't get to make these determinations, do I? The finalists for this contest have now been announced and I am pleased to report that one of my captions once again has been selected as a finalist. Finally Princeton will be known for something!

Statistically, this means I have made it to  finalist status in six of the seven Moment contests I've entered, as compared with zero of the seventy-odd New Yorker contests. Of the six completed Moment contests, one year's worth, I've come up with the winning caption for one of them.

Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Finalists for July/August 2014

November 29, 2014 Update:  Winning Caption
Winning Caption by William Agress, Lawrenceville, NJ

Note:  Last go round, Mr. Mankoff drew a domestic shootout. My caption was right on the mark. It achieved finalist status. Alas, it did not win. See the winning caption for the May/June 2014 Contest.

If you wish to vote for your favorite caption in the July/August contest, you have until October 10. While you're on the site, you may also wish to enter the September/October contest yourself. I have already started on that one.

Can you believe the blatant error inscribed by Bob Mankoff in my copy of his memoir? Learn why my current goal is to win the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest a total of four times and put this whole sorry episode behind me!

My year and a half long history of entering any number and variety of Cartoon Caption Contests has been carefully archived within the confines of this blog. See for yourself what I've been up to.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Charles Saxon: The Decline and Fall of the All-Male Business Club

Cartoonist Charles Saxon (1920-1988) chronicled the tumultuous social  changes of his time as seen through the eyes of upper-class suburbanites. What better way of understanding the fear and anxiety caused by the admission of women to gentlemen-only clubs than this delightful drawing. Men may share their domestic lives with women, but the business club is another matter entirely! Men, after all, must retain their privileges.

At the left, four pleasant and well-dressed women enter triumphantly but fairly benignly. The four men react to their presence in the extreme, one elderly man teetering dangerously on the library ladder, while the other three on the right cower behind their upholstered leather chairs. This marked contrast in attitude provides the humor. The room, as always, is well-appointed and rendered convincingly by Saxon with great sureness of hand, The depth of the space is palpable. He makes it all look so easy. It isn't.

The drawing was first published in the magazine New England Business. In 1984, it was collected in Charles Saxon's anthology "Honesty is One of the Better Policies" in a section called Women at the Top accompanied by two drawings published in the New York Times. Its title is The Decline and Fall of the All-Male Business Club.

The eBay seller notes that "Saxon's art sells very week [sic] at auction houses," which I'm going to assume means "very well." For once, a seller who says, "My price is very reasonable" is telling the truth. But the seller did not get his "reasonable" price. This lovely piece was sold last year for a best offer of less than $325.

Charles Saxon
The Decline and Fall of the All-Male Business Club
New England Business magazine,
"Honesty is One of the Better Policies" (1984), pp. 26-27


Printer's specs


Charles Saxon studio stamp


Note:  A couple of previous blog posts about Charles Saxon may be seen with the link. There is sure to be more to come in the near future.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ronald Searle: Financing the Farm

An illustration for a Lloyds Bank brochure on Financing the Farm shows Ronald Searle's more fanciful side. This branch manager not only finances the farm, he seems to work there and is a part of it.

Ronald Searle, Financing the Farm, Illustration 8, Lloyds Bank Brochure
"The branch manager is the key man because he is in a position
to build up a close relationship with his farmer customer."

12 Blythe Road
July 8, 2014, Lot 112

November 15, 2014 Update:  This artwork is now being offered by Chris Beetles, Ltd., London as part of "The Illustrators 2014" sale. It has been a longstanding practice of the gallery to purchase Mr. Searle's work at auction and from various internet sellers in order to be able to offer it to the gallery's clientele. Works such as this one purchased at 25 Blythe Street carry a 20% buyer's premium. A quick calculation indicates a dealer markup of 170%, less expenses.
Chris Beetles Gallery:  "The Illustrators 2014"

Ronald Searle, Financing the Farm, Illustration 8, Lloyds Bank Brochure
"The branch manager is the key man because he is in a position
to build up a close relationship with his farmer customer."

Note:  On Perpetua, you can see more Ronald Searle advertising art including another illustration for Lloyds bank.

Of course, there are more posts about Ronald Searle on this blog as well. You knew that.


Ronald Searle: The Blind Brushmaker

In 1959, Ronald Searle and his wife Kaye Webb were invited by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to document the plight of those living in postwar European refugee camps. Searle's drawing of Steffan Kiss-Szabo, the blind brushmaker of the Astern Refugee Camp in Austria, gains poignancy from the vacant stare of the subject. Unlike us, he is not able to visualize the squalor of the setting in which he lives and works.

Ronald Searle, Steffan Kiss-Szabo, The Blind Brushmaker
Astern Refugee Camp, Austria, November 5, 1959
Ronald Searle, Steffan Kiss-Szabo, The Blind Brushmaker, matted
Astern Refugee Camp, Austria, November 5, 1959

12 Blythe Road
July 8, 2014, Lot 111

Note:  To see more of Searle's refugee reportage, see Perpetua, the Ronald Searle tribute blog.

Don't miss this blog's previous posts about Ronald Searle.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #443

Here is my entry for the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #433 for September 22, 2014. The drawing is by Charlie Hankin.

"Did you bring the beer?"

Here are the other captions I considered along the way:
"May I?"
"This is right up my alley."

"But I brought my bowling shoes."
"I'll handle this. You get us some beer."
"Just this once and I'll never ask for anything again."
"It's all yours. I threw my back out."
"Miss one more time and I'm taking over."
"Aim for the pocket."
"How does it reset?"
"Care to split?"

September 29, 2014 Update:  The Finalists

October 13, 2014 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  In last week's contest, Michael Maslin drew one hell of a fender-bender. I held my caption to only three words, although I had to make one of them up. See the sinful results of Contest #442.

Holy hen hankies! Yesterday's blog post here about William Steig's crying chickens was picked up on Michael Maslin's Ink Spill blog. Anyone interested in the world of New Yorker cartoonists should be following Ink Spill.

This is Charlie Hankin's first appearance on Attempted Bloggery. Welcome, Charlie! Click on the link to see his website.


Friday, September 26, 2014

William Steig's Crying Chickens

Steig revels in his unconventionality, although it sometimes makes problems. He says his sojourn into the world of conventional business—as an illustrator for an advertising firm in the '60s—caused him to double over regularly with severe psychosomatic muscle cramps. "Doing advertising was something I couldn't stand to do," he says. "I just hate to follow someone else's impulse."

Here then is New Yorker cartoonist William Steig doing something he couldn't stand to do. The story is that he has lunch with an advertising executive for a poultry company, who proposes a new advertising campaign. Chickens, you see, are saddened that their eggs are simply too small to be taken by this fine chicken company; hence they--the chickens--are left crying in despair. Mr. Steig covers two sheets of paper with sketch proposals featuring crying chickens. He does this quickly and apparently without the use of a reference. He works directly in ink with no pencil underlining. In the end, each chicken has an expressively tearful face and an appropriate gesture. The artist signs each sheet and leaves them with the executive, who keeps them for decades, even framing one of them. On February 8, 2014, they are each sold separately on eBay in the $230 to $240 price range. The advertising campaign never materialized. Now that's something to cry about.

William Steig, Crying Chicken detail

William Steig, Crying Chicken
William Steig, Crying Chicken

William Steig's signature

William Steig, Crying Hen, detail

William Steig, Crying Hens

William Steig, Crying Hens
William Steig's Associated Press obituary by Greg Sukiennik, Boston as published in The Press, Atlantic City, NJ, October 5, 2003


Note:  More art by William Steig may be seen at various places around the blog.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jack Ziegler: "That's All, Folks!"

The Comic Art Professional Society, or CAPS, organized a charity auction event on eBay in March to benefit cartoonist Stan Sakai and his wife. Mr. Sakai is the creator of Usagi Yojimbo. Original artwork for a New Yorker cartoon by Jack Ziegler was sold on eBay. It had apparently been donated by fellow cartoonist Lynn Johnston of "For Better or for Worse." Original New Yorker work by Mr. Ziegler doesn't come to the market all that often. While I don't think this one quite ranks among his very best, the selling price of $281.98 is nevertheless a bit underwhelming.

The accompanying letter from 1992 reveals that the New Yorker waited two years before running this cartoon. Mr. Ziegler wrote that the magazine still had a 1975 cartoon of his that hadn't yet been published. I wonder what became of that.

Well... there you have it.

Jack Ziegler, Well...There You Have It.
Original artwork for the New Yorker, June 15, 1987, page 83

The eBay auction listing when it had 8 days remaining
The eBay auction listing at the conclusion of the sale.

Jack Ziegler, Well...There You Have It.
Original artwork for the New Yorker, June 15, 1987, page 83
Jack Ziegler, Well...There You Have It.
The New Yorker, June 15, 1987, page 83

Jack Ziegler, Well...There You Have It.
The New Yorker, June 15, 1987, page 83

Looney Tunes, "That's All, Folks"

Note:  Click here to get all the blog's Jack Ziegler posts in one place.

If there were a simple way to gather in one place all of my posts over the years on the subject of original New Yorker cartoon art, you would avail yourself of it, would you not?