Sunday, March 4, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Twofers? provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance...
Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3

That, of course, is the Porter elucidating the effects of drink. The reveler in E. Simms Campbell's original cartoon would do well to recall Shakespeare's words as he orders "Two more quarts and two more hostesses!" Still, it must be to his credit that he prefers his female companions to be conscious.

Too many cartoons in this genre present women as commodities to be purchased. Many of the gags in Campbell's popular "Harem Girls" cartoons are overtly based on this suggestion. The humor here derives from drawing an unexpectedly apt parallel between ordering alcohol and ordering hostesses, and more specifically from the idea that a carouser could require refills on both.

We haven't seen too many originals that were actually labelled as such on the matte, but perhaps it's an idea whose time has come; so many eBay sellers can't seem to tell a print from an original. Happily that's not the case with Michelle of Hesse Fine Art, who very reasonably surmises that this original was probably done for Playboy or Esquire. We might be able to tell which by examining the art out of the frame, but who wants to risk harming a period matte that reads (Original).

A few details are worth noting. A screen separates in part this table from the rest of the dining area, affording some privacy. The color of the screen matches the color of the tablecloth in light, whereas the color of the slumping woman's dress matches the color of the tablecloth in shadow. The heads are placed along a straight line, and if one follows this line further there's the shadow of the waiter's head against the screen. The inebriated speaker's hair and his tie are equally disheveled. As if that weren't enough to reveal his condition, the speaker is drawn in the very act of knocking over the flowers.

E. Simms Campbell
"Two more quarts and two more hostesses!"
Original art

E. Simms Campbell
eBay Listing Ended February 24, 2018

E. Simms Campbell
eBay Bid History
Ten days, eleven bidders, sixteen bids, and a retraction of a $4 bid. You can't make this up.
The bidding gets serious in the final 18 seconds.

Note:  Bottoms up! Attempted Bloggery is going to continue looking at the work of cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Readers can help in this worthy cause by providing high-resolution scans or photographs of other original Campbell art or perhaps of obscure published works.

That keyword of mine that says published? refers to any post where the publication history is unknown or incomplete. If you can provide the publication name, date, and page number, I can get rid of that pesky keyword for you.


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