Monday, June 5, 2017

Name That Cartoonist

Can you identify the mystery cartoonist who drew this cartoon? The cartoon was published in Click's Cartoon Annual in 1940 without a signature, probably because it was cropped out of the published image. As Democrat Franklin Roosevelt had been in the White House since 1933, the gag would seem to have been not particularly timely.
"She says the Republican Administration always licked her stamps for her."
Artist Unknown, Click's Cartoon Annual, January 1940, Vol. 1, No. 1, page 71

Here is the roster of likely perpetrators of this cartoon:
Click's Cartoon Annual, January 1940, Vol. 1, No. 1

At least the cover artist is no mystery. The color cartoon is in fact Peter Arno's only contribution to the issue. It too appears to be cropped somewhat to fit the space. I vividly remember Hartley Meinzer, one of my high school art teachers, instructing me that "Vertical lines always remain vertical." Even in high school I knew that wasn't quite right, or rather that it only applied when the horizon was at eye level, but I understood why he said it and what he meant. Arno's cover illustration shows how to break the rule and be smart about it.

Playing with the perspective allows for a more interesting and dynamic composition. Imagine how much less tension there would be if the ticket window were drawn vertically and if our eye level were the same as the couple's. Instead the vantage point is very low, about at the level of the woman's (ahem!) thigh. Seen from here, the man carrying the woman and the ticket seller appear to lean toward each other at about thirty-degree angles while the lines of the buildings on the left and the woman on the far right diverge at a wide angle. That older woman walking off to the right would have to be leaning forward at a very exaggerated angle, but in a way that only serves to keep the eye back in the center of the image. So does the man in the background with his head turned—he looks toward the three central figures of the cartoon—and the lines of the  food sign serve the same function. None of us necessarily notice any of this sleight-of-hand. We're too busy envying the passionate couple and sharing a knowing wink at the obliquely suggestive caption.
"Do you allow smoking?"
Peter Arno, 
Click's Cartoon Annual, January 1940, Vol. 1, No. 1

Note:  There I go again! Now I need to stop talking about Peter Arno long enough to remind everyone that this post is supposed to be about our as-yet-unidentified cartoonist. If you can help identify the creator of the post office cartoon, please leave a comment on this post posthaste. If this is successful, and even if it isn't, there may be more unidentified cartoonists here in the future. Name that cartoonist!

Also, check out my high school art teacher Hartley Meinzer's Instagram account. After all these years of abstraction, his vertical lines are still vertical!

All images here appear courtesy of Dick Buchanan's cartoon clip files.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Peter Arno

Artist Unknown

Post Office


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