Wednesday, February 22, 2017

James Stevenson's Windfall

Two original cartoons by the late James Stevenson (1929-2017) were shown at the Westport Historical Society on April 25, 2014 in conjunction with the exhibition "Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport." The first refers to the Windfall Profits Tax which was enacted in 1980 but much discussed during the previous year as a result of the oil shock. This tax was a response to the abrupt spike in oil prices brought about by the OPEC oil embargo in 1979 and the resulting increase in revenues to oil producers. The idea was to collect more taxes from oil producers based on their supposed increased profits from the sale of crude oil. That idea from the Carter years is the basis for the corporate banter in Mr. Stevenson's original cartoon art. Note the atmospheric effect of the artist's delicate use of wash. The light source is on the right and behind the two main figures, an unusual choice which results in both men having their faces largely in shadow.

"I say 'Give me a windfall and I'll talk windfall tax.' What do you say, Harry?"
James Stevenson
Original art
The New Yorker, May 28, 1979, page 29

"I say 'Give me a windfall and I'll talk windfall tax.' What do you say, Harry?"
James Stevenson
The New Yorker, May 28, 1979, page 29

Note:  With the passing of cartoonist James Stevenson (1929-2017), Attempted Bloggery would like to hear from anyone with original artwork, photos, or signed books that shed light on this essential New Yorker artist.

Quick Links to Attempted Bloggery's Taxing Archives
James Stevenson (1929-2017)
Original New Yorker Cartoon Art
Westport Historical Society



  1. Hi, I recently stumbled upon an original cartoon by James Stevenson in an LA thrift store. In very good condition, considering it was framed/matted but the glass/plastic cover was missing... anyway would love to know someone's opinion on it.

    1. Sure thing. Can you send some photos to the email address listed under my profile?