Saturday, June 11, 2016

Peter Arno: Begging Pardons

A fender-bender involving two New York City taxis as a priest walks by is the subject of a 1949 New Yorker cartoon by the great Peter Arno. The composition uses two-point perspective to show the intersection from the vantage point of a viewer standing near the street corner. Note how effectively the lines of both cabs direct the eye toward the priest, who further stands out owing to the contrast of both the darkest and lightest tones. The priest does not react to the situation. The cabdrivers do. Arno has had to lean the cabbie on the left way over into the passenger seat to make him visible. The posted 1949 cab fare, by the way, is 20 cents for the first quarter mile and 5 cents for each additional quarter mile. Go ahead, gripe if you must.

"I beg your pardon."
"I beg your pardon."
Peter Arno, Original artwork
The New Yorker, March 19,1949, page 26

Christie's South Kensington, December 7, 2010, Sale 5997, Lot 553

Christie's Lot Description
Peter Arno, The New Yorker, March 19, 1949, page 26

beg your pardon."
"I beg your pardon."
Peter Arno, The New Yorker, March 19,1949, page 26

June 25, 2017 Update:  The artwork is now available from the Chris Beetles Gallery in London for 3,500 GBP, or about double the 2010 Christie's sale price of 1,375 GBP once the buyer's premium is figured in (and disregarding the presumably minor piece at Christie's by "Anton").

"I beg your pardon."
"I beg your pardon."
Peter Arno, Original artwork
The New Yorker, March 19,1949, page 26

Peter Arno
Chris Beetles Galleries Listing as of June 25, 2017

Note:  I never promised you a rose garden. This extended series of posts about Peter Arno which began in March will soon be coming to an end. Nevertheless, I am always looking for more material about the pioneering cartoonist including original artwork, correspondence, photos, and cartoons from obscure publications not currently on the internet. If you'd like to read my previous posts on Arno to see what I'm all about, just click here.

Original New Yorker cartoon art is also a feature of this blog. Again, feel free to send new examples my way for the world to enjoy. To see this blog's virtual collection of original New Yorker cartoon art, click here.


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