Saturday, April 25, 2015

An Alexander Woollcott Caricature

An inscribed caricature of author and critic Alexander Woollcott was offered on eBay this month for a $25 starting bid. It did not attract any bidding activity. It was described as an original work by Woollcott, "a caricature drawing he had did of himself" in the seller's own words. It reportedly came out of the estate of playwright and director Moss Hart.

EBay Item Ended April 20, 2015
EBay Item Description

If the caricature looks familiar, it should. The "drawing" is identical to the image on the cover of Smart Aleck, Howard Teichmann's biography of Woollcott.
Smart Aleck:  The Wit, World and Life of Alexander Woollcott by Howard Teichmann
But it isn't a drawing. The book explains that the caricature on the cover is actually the work of William Auerbach-Levy. Woollcott was pleased with it and had it engraved on his personal stationery. This eBay lot then is an engraved stationery card rather than an original drawing by Woollcott. It was inscribed by Woollcott "With my compliments" and presented to Moss Hart.
From Smart Aleck:  The Wit, World and Life of Alexander Woollcott by Howard Teichmann

Moss Hart and Alexander Woollcott, the inspiration for the character
Sheridan Whiteside in "The Man Who Came to Dinner."


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