Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Trojan Christmas: R. O. Blechman Original New Yorker Cover Art

R. O. Blechman's witty 1990 New Yorker cover depicts the personal battle we wage each year over Christmas gift wrapping and decorating. The original artwork was sold in January at Swann Galleries. The image recalls a famous Hellenistic sculpture depicting another epic struggle, this one dating to the Trojan War. Laocoön, you will recall, warns the Trojans against accepting the giant wooden horse from the Greeks. "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" is how we crudely paraphrase Virgil. The goddess Athena will have none of this, and she sends two sea serpents to kill Laocoön and his sons. Today the sculpture may be seen in the Vatican Museums not too far from the Apollo Belvedere and the Belvedere Torso. There are worse places to spend an afternoon.

Mr. Blechman is not the first to make use of this sculpture in the New Yorker. In 1975, Charles Addams gives us a very memorable cartoon set in a butcher's shop where yet another great struggle is taking place.

R. O. Blechman, The New Yorker, December 17, 1990

Swann Galleries, January 23, 2014, Lot 18, $2,000 Hammer Price

Two New Yorker-related works by R. O. Blechman. The tree was featured in yesterday's blog post.
R. O. Blechman, Original art, The New Yorker, December 17, 1990
Agesander, Athenodoros, and Polydorus, Laocoön and His Sons, The Vatican Museums, Rome
Charles Addams, The New Yorker, April 7, 1975, page 39

August 31, 2019 Update: 
Charles Addams, The New Yorker, November 22, 1982, page 51

  Step right up. See other blog posts about illustrator R. O. Blechman.

Or perhaps you'd like some more Charles Addams?

Check out some other great examples of original New Yorker cover art.

Be sure not to miss any of the festive Christmas posts.

There are even a few posts here on the new winter season.


No comments:

Post a Comment