Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ah yes, I Remember It Well...: Ronald Searle Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

Ronald Searle's magazine cover proposals submitted to the New Yorker often consisted of finished art ready to go to press. Living, as he did, in the south of France, he avoided the cumbersome process of submitting roughs and only later reworking them into finished designs. Some of Searle's New Yorker rejections were never printed anywhere, but he learned he could publish many of them in his own sumptuously-produced collections. Thus I Remember It Well... from 1972 was included in More Cats (1976) and several later collections as well. Alternatively called Ah yes, I Remember It Well..., the title comes, of course, from the well-known duet in Lerner and Loewe's film score "Gigi" (1958).

But this watercolor does not depict a duet. One window, indeed, remains darkened with the blinds down. In the other window a lone cat sits solitary in his chair, violin close at hand, a wistful far-off gaze in his  eye, as he contemplates days gone by. The original artwork was in the collection of Searle's wife Monica and was later given to E. and V. Caloutsis. Artist Valerios Caloutsis was born in Crete in 1927 and is an abstract painter.

Ronald Searle, I Remember It Well..., 1972
Proposed New Yorker cover art
More Cats, 1975, as Oh yes, I remember it well . . . , pages 18-19

Ronald Searle, 1979. as Ah yes, I remember it well . . . , page 143
 Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book, 1982, as
Ah yes, I remember it well . . .
Searle and Searle,
2001, as I remember it well . . . , cat. no. 20

Ronald Searle
Christie's South Kensington, November 23, 2016

Ronald Searle, I Remember It Well..., 1972
Proposed New Yorker cover art
More Cats, 1975, as Oh yes, I remember it well . . . , pages 18-19

Ronald Searle, 1979. as Ah yes, I remember it well . . . , page 143
 Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book, 1982, as Ah yes, I remember it well . . .
Searle and Searle, 
2001, as I remember it well . . . , cat. no. 20

"I Remember It Well"
"Gigi" (1958)
Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Maurice Chevalier as Honoré
Hermione Gingold as Mamita
The MGM Studio Orchestra
André Previn, conductor

Note:  While not all cover concept proposals are deemed worthy of subsequent publication, the New Yorker was in the enviable position of receiving far too many outstanding cover submissions than they could possibly use. Original New Yorker cover submissions are eagerly sought after here whether or not they're as evocative as the current work by Ronald Searle.

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