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.


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