Thursday, November 30, 2017

Otto Soglow Cannibal Caricatures


Racial caricature was pervasive in American print through the first half of the twentieth century and beyond. An advertisement illustrated by Otto Soglow from late in 1956 is shocking today in it's crudeness. Did it raise any eyebrows back then? It ran in Time magazine, then as now the quintessential mainstream newsmagazine with a paid circulation above two million. Implicitly racist mages like this seem remarkable to us for how uncritically accepted they were by readers, publishers, advertisers, illustrators, and the public in general. Could they have been so commonplace once that no one took any notice?

"It'll last a lifetime—thanks to Alloys[.]"
Otto Soglow
Advertisement for Electromet
Time, December 17, 1956




Note:  As you know, I'm always looking for scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. Rare and obscure published work including advertising is also welcome.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Otto Soglow Alphabet


An important feature of the Dutch Treat Club yearbooks was the membership directory. In the Fortieth Anniversary of The Dutch Treat Club, the 1945 yearbook's directory has letter illustrations by the prolific Otto Soglow. Like the other illustrations in the yearbook, they are racy and irreverent, meant to be enjoyed by the group's members and definitely not intended for the general public. Not every letter of the alphabet is illustrated; only those for whom there are corresponding Dutch Treat Club members.


Otto Soglow, Members with letters A and B
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
The listing begins with legendary theater impresario George Abbott

Otto Soglow, C
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Harrison Cady and James Cagney head the C listings.

Otto Soglow, D
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Including both Whitney Darrow and Whitney Darrow, Jr.
 

Otto Soglow, E and F
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Clifton Fadiman has the dubious distinction of leading off the F's
Saturday Evening Post cover artist John Falter, who illustrated this year's
yearbook cover, is noted for his wartime service in the Naval Reserve.
 

Otto Soglow, G
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Frank Godwin and Rube Goldberg are among the G's.
 

Otto Soglow, H
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
John Gunther, author of the popular "Inside" books,
would publish Death Be Not Proud in 1949.

Otto Soglow, I and J
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club, 1945
Rea Irvin, illustrator of The New Yorker's first cover,
is listed as the first I.

Otto Soglow, K and L
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf is in the mix.
Fritz Kreisler is listed as a composer rather than a violinist.

Otto Soglow, M
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945

 

Otto Soglow, N, O, P, and Q
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945
Ogden Nash has the indignity of being the first N.
Illustrator Russell Patterson is listed among the R's.

Otto Soglow, R and S
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945

Otto Soglow, V and W
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945

Otto Soglow, Z
Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club. New York: 1945



Note:  Collectors who have access to rarities of the Dutch Treat Club are encouraged to share them here. I would also appreciate scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. Rare and obscure published work such as these letters are always welcome.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sight Unseen: An Otto Soglow Erotic Drawing

When I gamble, I don't need to go to a casino; I go to an online bookseller and buy something I can't examine. The gamble is that a bookseller who won't go to the trouble of providing a photo will nevertheless accurately describe a book. My gambles in book buying have overall been fairly successful so far, with one or two odd caveats. Win or lose, I report on the results of my blind purchases right here on the blog. Today I report on my most expensive experiment to date, a sight unseen copy of Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club (New York, 1945). As noted in the Strand Book Store listing, the publication is limited to 1000 copies and this volume is inscribed by Otto Soglow with an erotic drawing. The price is $125. Okay, I decided to go for it.


Abe Books Listing
August 7, 2016


The book has voyeuristic cover art by John Falter, a regular Saturday Evening Post cover artist.
John Falter, Fortieth Anniversary of the Dutch Treat Club
New York, 1945, cover

The endpapers are by Dean Cornwell, another outstanding contributor.
Dean Cornwell, endpaper

The Soglow drawing appears in the front of the book on a blank page opposite a printed erotic drawing of a woman wearing only panties, a skirt, and heels, immodestly bending over. Soglow has drawn his Little King staring very specifically at her crotch and experiencing a visible bulge in his royal robe. Humorist Corey Ford has also signed the page and directed a comment at the same area of the woman's anatomy. What a coincidence!
Inscribed "With love to Harry [Staton?]/O. Soglow" with a drawing of the Little King aroused
Inscribed "The usual place/Corey Ford—"


The drawing is inscribed to one Harry. It seems likely this is Harry Staton, who managed the Herald Tribune Syndicate and served as Treasurer of the Dutch Treat Club.
Among the listed officers of the Dutch Treat Club is Treasurer Harry Staton (c. 1880- 1959), possibly the original owner of this volume. Harry Staton was the manager of the Herald Tribune Syndicate from 1924-1947. Note the classy medicine cabinet.

Many of the artists in the Dutch Treat Club contributed a drawing with the theme of the number forty. Here is Otto Soglow's anatomical capriccio to end the volume:


So here's my take on this purchase: I got my money's worth, but to what end? This book is an absolutely unique item in a number of ways. It is perhaps Soglow's only drawing of the Little King in a sexually-aroused state—heaven forfend if there are more—and it is an unexpected bonus to see it paired with Corey Ford's signature. The likely provenance of Harry Staton makes it even more interesting. I have no doubt it's worth $125.

On the down side, it is a dated relic of an old boys' club of cartoonists and humorists. Soglow and Ford are looking for crude laughs in the objectification of women. I love the Little King, but this isn't the Little King drawing I would choose for myself. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would have passed on the book if I'd actually seen it. But then, what was I expecting?


Note:  It's not so hard for a determined collector to find an absolutely unique drawing. In fact, it's quite easy, because cartoonists and other creative people conjure up absolutely unique images every day. Readers who have accumulated unique artifacts of the Dutch Treat Club are encouraged to share them here.

It seems almost every day I ask for scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. I usually ask for examples of extremely rare and obscure published work. Today I offered a little of each myself. See, it isn't so hard.


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Monday, November 27, 2017

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #594


Autumn comes to the Caption Contest. Here is my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #594 for November 27, 2017. The drawing is by Maggie Lawson. 

"It's so cute when nature lovers dress like lumberjacks!"



December 4, 2017 Update:  The Finalists


December 11, 2017 Update:  Although I like the second caption a lot, I voted for the first, it being more akin to my own submission.


Note:  Last week, cartoonist Tom Cheney was quite the backstabber. My caption was too dull. Rub salt into Contest #593.

Maggie Lawson is brand new to the blog! She's a cartoonist and she's okay...


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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Otto Soglow: In Search of the Still Life Class


An original cartoon by Otto Soglow (1900-1975) was offered for sale last year at Burchard Galleries in St. Petersburg. The work is inscribed by Mr. Soglow "With best wishes to Chris." Christian Buchheit (1885-1974) "served for 50 years as Building Superintendent for The Art Students League in New York." Nearly one-hundred works from his estate were offered at auction.  According to artfixdaily.com, “'This is truly a rare estate find,' said Jeffrey Burchard, owner of Burchard Galleries. 'When Mr. Buchheit retired, many of the League artists and teachers paid tribute by presenting him with a 50th year anniversary party that included a portfolio of original watercolors, drawings, oils and prints. Many of these will be in the auction and are being offered to the public for the first time.'” The present work of a bewildered drawing student lost amidst giant nude sculptures sold for $250.
Otto Soglow, original art
"Where is the still life class?"
Inscribed "With best wishes to Chris/O. Soglow"

Otto Soglow, original matted art
"Where is the still life class?"
Inscribed "With best wishes to Chris/O. Soglow"


Burchard Galleries, Inc.
November 13, 2016






Note:  Was this drawing published or was it, as seems likely, created specifically for retiring building superintendent Christian Buchheit of the Art Students League? Is the man in the dark suit a caricature of Christian Buchheit? Could it be an image for the Dutch Treat Club? Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact me.

Otto Soglow produced a prodigious amount of material in his lifetime, and
Attempted Bloggery wants to show you more of it. In the spirit of the befuddled art student lost among giant nudes, I stand amidst the enormous chaos of the internet and ask my readers once again to forward high-quality scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. I also seek examples of extremely rare and obscure published work. And directions to the still life class.


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Otto Soglow: V for Victory


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k64nOQ7zAMw


On July 19, 1941, the "V for Victory" campaign was embraced by Winston Churchill. It rapidly took hold in the United States as well, even before Pearl Harbor. In the pages of The New Yorker, cartoonist Otto Soglow's pushcart vendor knew just how to put his marketing skills to work and do the V sign one better. Or Soglow may just be having fun with the Russian-born Jewish vendor's accent. The original artwork to the cartoon has a different letter on the back: New Yorker founding editor Harold Ross's initial R, indicating that Ross personally approved this cartoon for publication.



Otto Soglow, original art
The New Yorker, September 6, 1941, page 12

Scan courtesy of Jerome Wrinkle

Otto Soglow, original art, verso
Ross's R at upper left
The New Yorker, September 6, 1941, page 12

Scan courtesy of Jerome Wrinkle


Cartoons by Otto Soglow and Richard Taylor

Otto Soglow
The New Yorker, September 6, 1941, page 12

Otto Soglow, original art
The New Yorker, September 6, 1941, page
12
Scan courtesy of Jerome Wrinkle


Almanac:  "V for Victory" Sign
"CBS Sunday Morning"
July 19, 2015



Note:  Thanks to Jerome Wrinkle for providing these fascinating scans.


Michael Maslin found a New Yorker wartime pamphlet initialed in red by Harold Ross with his R. It's on Ink Spill here.


Otto Soglow doesn't get a lot of attention these days, but we don't shy away from obscure subject matter here at Attempted Bloggery. So in the spirit of Winston Churchill urging the world to adopt the symbol "V for Victory," I repeat once again my request for readers to forward high-quality scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. Please also send me examples of extremely rare or uncollected published work. Peace. I mean Victory.



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Friday, November 24, 2017

Mind Control: Otto Soglow in College Humor, February 1938


In Otto Soglow's four-panel gag cartoon from the February 1938 issue of College Humor, it's all about mind over matter. The cartoon suffers from devoting the right two-thirds of each panel to an unchanging poster of Alfo the Lion Tamer. Soglow tries to compensate for this monotony by shifting his point of view very slightly to the left with each successive panel, so that the poster moves imperceptably off to the right. This helps a little bit, but it's simply not satisfactory to limit all the action to the left side of each panel.

Otto Soglow
College Humor, Vol 7, No. 2, February 1938, page 29


Note:  Last year I had the privilege of photographing this cartoon in a copy of the February 1938 number of College Humor, just one full magazine page out of some 5,600 publications housed in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection. It is kept in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University and the collection is accessible to the general public. For information, contact Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green who was a big help to me.

It's almost time for me to move on from Otto Soglow to other extraordinary artists, but from time to time I'd like to keep his work in the public eye here on Attempted Bloggery. Therefore, in the spirit of Mr. Soglow dutifully drawing Alfo the Lion Tamer over and over, I repeat once again my request for high-quality scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Otto Soglow. Please also send me examples of rare or forgotten published work so we can all stay as mentally-focused as Mr. Soglow's carnival barker.


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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Today's Walk in the Woods


It's autumn in the woods.

Someone's been decorating:

What's this?


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Bil Baird's College Humor Covers


The balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were originally created by puppeteer and illustrator Tony Sarg (1880-1942). The young puppeteer Bil Baird (1904-1987) went to work for him in 1928, constructing the balloons that Sarg designed. Baird can be seen atop a ladder painting the Sultan balloon for the parade in a vintage photograph while Sarg, center, supervises from the ground. 



Five years later, Baird struck off on his own. He formed Baird Marionettes in 1934. He used his puppet modeling skills to produce a series of magazine covers for College Humor in 1937. The magazine referred to them as "sculptures" and the color photographs, seemingly a novelty at the time, were credited to Dudley Lee. The women wear heavy eye makeup in all of these covers. The January cover avoids all that heavy winter clothing your mother thinks you're wearing.
Sculpture by Bil Baird [?]
Photo by Dudley Lee [?]
College Humor, January1937





Today accusations of sexual harassment against prominent, powerful men are a major subject in the news. For decades, though, sexual harassment has been depicted in male-oriented humor magazines as a nothing more serious than a knowing, sexy joke. Wink wink. Get it?
Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1937







Our blonde hero has fallen for a redhead, but she seems to have other ideas.


Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 2, June 1937





Our hero understandably wants to get closer to his athletic redhead, but it's important to stay out of the line of fire.
Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 3, July 1937




It's summertime, and three's a crowd!
Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1937
Scan by Dick Buchanan



Well, well. The new academic year brings success! Even the carousel horses know what's going on!
Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 1, September 1937

From "Working with the Photo-Puppets" by Gray Strider
Popular Photography, April 1938, page 23
https://books.google.com/books?id=RVwzAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=Bil+Baird+College+Humor&source=bl&ots=kUL_EA_XDR&sig=1-xlT19a4esin98feFWXPxyICjc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPqMzZzNTXAhVryoMKHTWACs0Q6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=Bil%20Baird%20College%20Humor&f=false


Our hero has gained new confidence! Yet he is wearing a freshman beanie. That detail doesn't seem right. Didn't his sweater on the July cover put him in the Class of '40? That would make him a sophomore. Still, he seems to be doing better with his romantic interest. There must be hope for all of us!
Sculpture by Bil Baird
Photo by Dudley Lee
College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1937




I'm not sure of the date of this one:


In the 1965 film version of "The Sound of Music," Bil Baird and his marionettes are at the top of their game in "The Lonely Goatherd."
"The Lonely Goatherd"
Maria—Julie Andrews
Marionettes by Bil Baird
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
"The Sound of Music" (1965 film)



Note: The July, September, and October 1937 covers of College Humor photographed here are from the Steven Boss humor magazine collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University. Contact Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green for information on the collection.

Thanks to Dick Buchanan for scanning the August cover. Dick is a regular contributor to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a post entitled, "Dick Buchanan's Cartoon Files: More Cops and Robbers Gag Cartoons 1947 - 1968."

Two of the smaller cover scans are from eBay. I would love to receive higher-resolution scans of these. I'd also like to hear from anyone with other covers from the series or, better still, the original puppets or photographs.

There are lovely scans of three of these covers on Illostribute.

Happy Thanksgiving! I will not personally be taking any pictures of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons this year, but I probably could be persuaded to accept photographs submitted by readers of the balloon inflation or of the parade. Try me.


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