Sunday, May 22, 2016

Peter Arno Art for College Humor

In the summer of 1985—some fifty years after they were published—eighteen works of original cartoon art from College Humor magazine were brought to the Nicholls Gallery in New York. Five were purchased outright by the gallery and eleven accepted on consignment. The artist was Peter Arno.

One cartoon, by Otto Soglow, was deemed "rather dumb" and may not have been taken at all by the gallery, but it was photographed with the Arno cartoons. It is not mentioned in the written agreement between gallery and consignor. Another work of Arno's was in rough condition with some paper loss—"paper eaten at corner" in gallery parlance. That work was returned to the consignor where it remained, it is believed, until after her death. It was sold on eBay in 2011 along with 41 Arno sketchbook pages that may or may not have been declined by the gallery in 1985 as well.

Also included with this lot were the consignment paperwork from the gallery and a contact sheet with eighteen photographs of the original cartoon art. The paperwork gives captions for all but three of the works. The Soglow cartoon is captionless, as so many of his cartoons were. The gallery lists two of the Arno cartoons as being "uncaptioned," but it seems more correct to say they originally had captions and now are missing them.

Contact sheet from the Nicholls Gallery, July 1985
Original cartoon art from College Humor, including seventeen works by Peter Arno and one by Otto Soglow


The original cartoons from the contact sheet are here paired with their captions.
"Hurry, dear, our guests are beginning to arrive!"
"By golly, I forgot to look at your teeth, didn't I?"



"She keeps asking for you!  She's delirious!"
"It isn't every student I'd let mark her own examination paper, Miss Dawson."
"Your husband, Eleanor, what sort of a looking man is he?"
"Am I to understand this is not the 49th Street crosstown bus?"
"It's the master's idea—says it keeps them out of the Stork Club."

"It's the master's idea—says it keeps them out of the Stork Club."Guernsey's March 1986 illustration art auction catalogue Lot A720
Image added November 14, 2016

Image added November 14, 2016

"By gad, I wish I were your father for about five minutes!"


"By gad, I wish I were your father for about five minutes!"
Guernsey's March 1986 illustration art auction catalogue Lot A726
Image added November 14, 2016


"Say! You two ought to know each other!"

"Say! You two ought to know each other!"
Peter Arno, Original art at auction, College Humor, c. 1935
Image added May 29, 2016


"Look, dear, it's for you!"
"See here, Prentice, it's all right to look, but you needn't cheer them on!"
"See here, Prentice, it's all right to look, but you needn't cheer them on!"
Peter Arno, Original art at auction, College Humor, c. 1935
Image added May 29, 2016



"You may shut off the heater now, Oglethorpe!"

"You may shut off the heater now, Oglethorpe!"
Peter Arno, Original art, College Humor, c. 1935
"I do wish you'd change your mind and come along!"

"Well, put up a fight! Don't just sit there!"

["?"]

"Come right in, madam. The marster's awaiting you in his lair."
"Come right in, madam. The marster's awaiting you in his lair."
Peter Arno, Original art, College Humor, c. 1935


["?"]

Otto Soglow







































































Note:  Thanks to Ronan from France for providing the invaluable contact sheet and paperwork issued by the Nicholls Gallery. The unique content of this blog post about Peter Arno could never have been put together without him.

Enjoy my original post about "Come right in, madam. The marster's awaiting you in his lair." You'll eat it up.


You know you want to see them. Arno's original sketchbook pages as well as the contact sheet are posted here.

I consider many of my posts to be incomplete, but this one is more incomplete than most. Ideally it would have more full-size images of the original art to accompany the thumbnails taken off a contact sheet, the pages from College Humor where the art was originally published c. 1935, the Guernsey's auction catalogue page where some of these originals were sold, and the two missing captions. All this material is out there somewhere, and if it finds its way to me I'll add it to the post. So, collectors of these rare Peter Arno originals and of 1930's issues of College Humor, please get in touch. Write to my email address with AB—for Arno Blogging—in the subject line. Look, I really don't ask for much...

For those wanting to know more about Peter Arno, there's no better place to start than Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist by Michael Maslin. By all means, read the book review in the Christian Science Monitor that calls the book "dazzling." Then perhaps read the excerpt entitled The Peter Arno Cartoons That Helped Rescue The New Yorker which was published on May 5 in the New Yorker's online edition. It's all about the Whoops Sisters. If you don't know who they are, well, hang on to your knickers, dearie!


Here are some more links for the budding Arno connoisseur:

Peter Arno posts on Ink Spill. 

Peter Arno in Chris Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery. If you could have any collection of Arno books, this is the one you would want.

Peter Arno in the April 26 Record.

Peter Arno in April's Vanity Fair

Peter Arno in the March 29 Wall Street Journal.


Peter Arno here on Attempted Bloggery.

And, once you come up for air:

Otto Soglow on this blog.

Some original cartoon art on this blog (not from the New Yorker).

College Humor magazine posts here on Attempted Bloggery.

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