Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Patriotic Parade: Helen E. Hokinson Preliminary New Yorker Cover Art

Helen E. Hokinson's preliminary art for what was to become the New Yorker's 1930 Independence Day cover depicts a festive parade float proudly bedecked with American flags, each then bearing 48 stars. Three of Hokinson's stately matrons offer a patriotic tableau in which one of them stands prominently representing the Statue of Liberty and the others sit cross-legged beside her. The art is strikingly beautiful even as it asks us to wink knowingly at the showy display. Surely it possesses all the earmarks of a fine New Yorker cover. Is there any way this could be improved upon?

Helen E. Hokinson
Preliminary art
The New Yorker, July 1, 1933

Helen E. Hokinson
The New Yorker, July 1, 1933

Under the tutelage of the magazine's editorial staff, the cover has undergone a significant transformation prior to publication, as so many New Yorker covers do. The colors have become muted and the seated figures now wear laurels and are classically posed. The float has been altered to one with the theme of Washington crossing the Delaware, providing the two allegorical ladies with proper seats. The American flag is markedly less prominent here, allowing the three female figures to move into the center of the composition. Most tellingly, Lady Liberty has tossed her head back, clearly reveling in her role. The overall change from the preliminary art is remarkable; Hokinson's ladies have come to life.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Helen E. Hokinson

Independence Day

Attempted Bloggery's Star-Spangled Index


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