Saturday, November 17, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Promises to Keep

Barbara Shermund's cartoons for men's magazines like Esquire often attempt to get a laugh out of her depiction of female promiscuity. Yet it is commonly the woman in these cartoons of hers who is self-empowered as the decision-maker. Such is the case in a cartoon from September of 1937. The unnamed man putting his tie back on, in contrast, is something of a nonentity. For that matter, so are Roger and Mr. Whipple, whom we know only from their mention in the caption.

The original art to this cartoon was sold on eBay in September for an undisclosed price somewhere under $625. EBay regards these best offer arrangements as private treaties and does not disclose the sale price, but I'd rather see them adopt a policy of public transparency.

"And now I've got to go back to the party—I promised Roger and Mr. Whipple that
they could take me home, too[.]"

Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, September 1, 1937, page 78

"And now I've got to go back to the party—I
promised Roger and Mr. Whipple that
they could take me home, too[.]"

Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, September 1, 1937, page 78

Barbara Shermund's signature

Detail of verso with caption

Verso

Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended September 10, 2018


Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description



https://classic.esquire.com/article/1937/9/1/and-now-ive-got-to-go-back-to-the-party-i-promised-roger-and-mr-whipple-that-they-could-take-me-h


Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks scans or photos of original art by Barbara Shermund for inclusion in future blog posts. I ask readers to send further examples. Roger and Mr. Whipple agree with me.


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Friday, November 16, 2018

Barbara Shermund: On Bended Knee

Mr. Dawson proposes marriage in Barbara Shermund's cartoon from the May 1953 issue of Esquire. The female object of Mr. Dawson's affection is young, pretty, well provided for, and of independent mind. In the 1950s, educated young women considered cigarette smoking a sign of their sophistication, and a cigarette belonging to this young lady burns in an ashtray at right. Her passion, on the other hand, is not burning, so Mr. Dawson will have to be content to attend to her more trivial needs instead.

"The answer's no, Mr. Dawson—but while you're down, feel around for an earring[.]"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, May 1953, page 66


https://classic.esquire.com/article/1953/5/1/the-answers-no-mr-dawson-but-while-youre-down-feel-around-for-an-earring




Note:  Happy 27th anniversary to my wife, who knew she could say no, but didn't.


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Barbara Shermund's Prize-Winner

Not all mothers are easily fooled. A cartoon by Barbara Shermund published in the March 1939 issue of Esquire depicts a young woman coming home to her mother after a night on the town carrying an expensive necklace fresh out of its jewelry box. Her mother has seen this before; she already knows what story she's about to be told and she anticipates it with apparent sarcasm. The joke, of course, is that we all can suppose we know how her attractive daughter really obtained the jewelry.

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

The rendition of the two women in the foyer is quite lovely, but the caption, I think, is weak. "Prize contest" just sounds wrong to the ear. Simply referring to a "contest" would have served better.

On the original art, the artist's signature is cut off by the mounting, which is inexcusable. But even more inexcusable is that the signature in the published cartoon is cut off at the same place. Eighty years ago, Esquire demonstrated a certain slovenliness in how it presented the work of its talented cartoonists. Did anyone even notice?

The original artwork has been sold on eBay twice in the past two years. The more recent listing is the more thorough one, and it makes use of Classic Esquire's new online archive.


Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended December 4, 2016

Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description

Barbara Shermund
eBay Bid History
It pays to wait. A bid in the final four seconds takes the prize.



The same piece was resold two years later on eBay, and at a profit: 
"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Matted original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

"I know! You won it in another prize contest!"
Barbara Shermund
Matted original art
Esquire, March 1939, page 124

Barbara Shermund's partially-obscured signature

The handwritten caption on the matte

Verso

Detail of verso with writing

Detail of stamp on Verso

Esquire's mascot Esky was created by E. Simms Campbell. The March 1939 magazine cover of Esky showing off on ice skates is illustrated with a sculpture by Arthur Von Frankenberg.
Arthur Von Frankenberg
Esquire, March 1939 

Esquire, March 1939, pages 124-125

Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended September 30, 2018


Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description
Barbara Shermund
eBay Bid History
With only one bidder, bid strategy didn't matter here, but placing a single early bid still can't be recommended.






Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks scans or photos of original artwork by Barbara Shermund for possible inclusion in future blog posts. Now how many blogs can say that?


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Barbara Shermund: A Penny for Your Thoughts

Barbara Shermund's redhead wears a sexy, diaphanous, dress and sits alluringly on a loveseat in Mr. Caldwell's den surrounded by his collection of erotic art. She wonders out loud what could be on the much older gentleman's mind. Is she simply naive or is she playing her cards exactly right? Many of Barbara Shermund's young women seem to know exactly how to get what they want. This particular cartoon, I think, can be read either way with pleasure.

The original framed Esquire cartoon art was sold last year on eBay with an accepted best offer of something less than $695.95. No information was provided regarding publication history, although Ms. Shermund was correctly cited in the listing's title as a "Known Esquire Artist." Indeed she is. Esquire's archive is now online allowing us to confirm that this lovely drawing was published on a full page in the magazine, during the spring of 1940.

"A penny for your thoughts, Mr Caldwell."
Barbara Shermund
Original art, Esquire, April 1, 1940, page 40

Barbara Shermund's signature is partially obscured by the matte, evidence of a substandard framing job.

Detail of the ingénue

Detail of Mr. Caldwell

Detail of the principal figures

The caption is handwritten on the matte.

A close-up of Barbara Shermund's partially-obscured signature

Detail with see-through dress

Detail


Barbara Shermund
eBay Listing Ended January 25, 2018
Barbara Shermund
eBay Item Description






https://classic.esquire.com/article/1940/4/1/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-mr-caldwell



Note:  Scans or photos of original artwork by Barbara Shermund are welcomed here on Attempted Bloggery.


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