Saturday, May 7, 2016

Peter Arno: Waiting for the Good News

When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet IV.5

So says King Claudius to his distraught wife Gertrude. Peter Arno has his butler put it almost as memorably—if somewhat less succinctly—to the lord and master who is already acquainted with the sorrows which come after a night on the town.
"I regret to report, Sir, that Standard Oil of California is off two points, your second
wife called about her alimony, Firefly ran last at Belmont, the man from the Internal
Revenue is downstairs, and we are all out of aspirin."

Peter Arno, Original artwork

"I regret to report, Sir, that Standard Oil of California is off two points, your second
wife called about her alimony, Firefly ran last at Belmont, the man from the Internal
Revenue is downstairs, and we are all out of aspirin."

Peter Arno, Original artwork

Peter Arno's signature

"I regret to report, Sir, that Standard Oil of California is off two points, your second
wife called about her alimony, Firefly ran last at Belmont, the man from the Internal
Revenue is downstairs, and we are all out of aspirin."

Peter Arno, Original artwork

Susanin's Item Description
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/41132641_peter-arno-american-1904-1968-i-regret-to-report-s



Inspired by the tradition of Shakespeare's many editors, I have taken the liberty of editing what I believe to be obvious errors in the Arno caption, substituting Internal for International and aspirin for asperin. Where and when this color cartoon may have been published are unknown to me, but anyone with relevant information should email me with AB, for Aspirin Bottle, in the subject line.

May 10, 2016 Update:  What do you know? A sharp-eyed reader has pointed out that the Arno drawing from Susanin's is a variant of a cartoon published in the September 25, 1937 New Yorker. It was the presence of color that threw me off the trail. This color version has some minor differences from the published cartoon, most notably a nude hanging above the bed which might have displeased the magazine's editors. As the New Yorker did not publish color cartoons in the 1930's, this may be a redraw created for a friend or a fan, presumably male, rather than a preliminary version. It has the look of having been drawn somewhat hastily. My two corrections to the caption proved correct, but I should not have capitalized sir.
"I regret to report, sir, that Standard Oil of California is off two points, your second
wife called about her alimony, Firefly ran last at Belmont, the man from the Inter-

nal Revenue Department is downstairs, and we're all out of aspirin."
Peter Arno, The New Yorker, September 25, 1937, page 14




Note:  This blog proudly publishes fine examples of original cartoon art.

If you now feel an urgent need to learn everything you can about Peter Arno, you're in luck. Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist by Michael Maslin is hot off the presses. Read the excerpt The Peter Arno Cartoons That Helped Rescue The New Yorker published May 5 in the New Yorker online.

You can also learn quite a bit from the following links:

Peter Arno posts on Ink Spill. 

Peter Arno in Chris Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery. 

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 posts here on Attempted Bloggery. 

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