Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Mouse at the Opera: Julian de Miskey Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

These days the New Yorker's covers generally don't venture into the opera house. In the early decades of the magazine, though, the cover art frequently took a seriocomic look at the spectacle of grand opera—and the grander the better. Productions, often at the Old Met, including their full complement of cast, crew, and audience were fair game as cover subjects. A proposed cover by the talented Julian de Miskey offers a backstage view of the heldentenor's dressing room at a production of "Siegfried." We are delighted to see that the singer, in full costume as Siegfried, the quintessential Wagnerian hero, has been bested by a tiny mouse.

The paper bears evidence of folding into three parts, as if it were a letter that at one time had been put neatly into an envelope. This shows the widespread casual attitude of artist and editors to concept art that was not destined for publication. No doubt they would have been more careful had they foreseen a time when this rejected cover proposal would be offered for sale by a leading bookseller for $2,500.

Julian de Miskey proposed New Yorker cover art

Julian De Miskey
James Cummins, Bookseller Listing as of July 16, 2017

Note:  This is Julian de Miskey's first appearance here on the blog.

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