Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Peter Arno: Keeping George Carter in Town

For one night in April 2014, the Westport Historical Society exhibited a few works of original New Yorker artwork in conjunction with the hugely popular "Cover Story:  The New Yorker in Westport" show. One of the pieces was Peter Arno's "Why, George Carter! What keeps you in town?"  In the large white area at the lower center, there is a now-faded inscription from Arno to the original recipient.

Arno got a lot of mileage from this sort of May-December gag, and boy was he good at it! The setting looks like Park Avenue. The perspective of the street and the car direct our eyes from right to left. The flags create diagonals pointing to the couple. George is dressed in his summer white which contrasts nicely with the dark clothing of the women on either side of him. The couple is standing upright, which is emphasized by the strong verticals of the buildings. In contrast, the older woman's posture is stooped forward toward George, Arno somewhat cruelly exaggerating the curvature of her back with her stole and by having the dress curve the other way. She has paused in an unsure, broad-based stance while the couple in George's moment of surprise are still walking, she gracefully and he now out of step and awkwardly. The outline of the couple's shadow is softly curved  while the older woman has an implausibly angular shadow. George's falling cane may be little too cartoonish, and the New Yorker's editors eliminated it from the published drawing.

Peter Arno, "Why, George Carter!  What keeps you in town?"
Original art, The New Yorker, July 20, 1940, page 14


Peter Arno, "Why, George Carter!  What keeps you in town?"
The New Yorker, July 20, 1940, page 14


Note:  I'm always looking for fine examples of original New Yorker cartoon art to showcase here. It doesn't necessarily have to be by Peter Arno.

Speaking of Arno, he really should be the talk of the town this week.

Peter Arno's new biography by Michael Maslin will be published on April 19. It's already on eBay.

Peter Arno will be the subject of a conversation coming to the Butler Library at Columbia University on April 18. Thus the book will be launched.

Peter Arno posts on Ink Spill should not be missed.

Peter Arno is also featured in Chris Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery. You don't want to miss this.

Peter Arno is profiled in the April Vanity Fair by Ben Schwartz. No relation.

Peter Arno is also profiled in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Peter Arno posts just like this one can be found here on Attempted Bloggery. It's a good time to be alive.

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