Wednesday, August 15, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Not Painting Me

Yesterday we saw an example of how cartoonist E. Simms Campbell was able to suggest "offstage" sexual activity merely by showing us the calm reaction to it of another character, in that case a young woman's well-to-do father surreptitiously observing from upstairs. A 1940 Esquire cartoon ups the ante on this type of suggestive gag by showing us a female nude posing in an artist's studio. The model is clearly alarmed at what she sees that we can't. The caption sets up a sort of negative riddle—describing only what's not going on—readily solved by the reader. No doubt this is one of the magazine's more risqué cartoons, but it's all in the power of the suggestion.

"Why, Mr. DeMunson!  You're not painting me at all!"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1940, page 56

It's a clothing-optional week here on Attempted Bloggery. Dinner jacket and evening dress are not required.

Yes, the year was 1940. Does anyone know the specific month of this issue of Esquire?

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