Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Pictorial Review: Barbara Shermund and Julian de Miskey

Dick Buchanan has dipped into his Cartoon Clip Files and sent along three full color scans from Pictorial Revue. There are two covers, one from 1948 by Barbara Shermund and the other from 1949 by Julian de Miskey. From the 1949 issue he has also included a page of Shermund’s Sallies, a regular feature consisting of two color cartoons.

Regarding Pictorial Review, Dick writes, "This was a Sunday supplement which (I believe) originated with the Chicago Herald American and was distributed by King Features Syndicate to other papers. The only other paper I see from eBay research is the Sun-Telegraph..."

A new listing on eBay indicates that we can also include the San Francisco Examiner. There are probably a number of others as well. These cartoons were distributed to homes around the country.

"I'm going to try to dig up a man!"
Barbara Shermund
Pictorial Review, July 18, 1948

Scan by Dick Buchanan

"Dear, I simply must get away for a couple of weeks' rest."
Julian de Miskey
Pictorial Review, January 16, 1949

Scan by Dick Buchanan

"She's so dumb she thinks minks are little animals!"
* * *
"Joe's kept his word all these years—
he's never looked at another woman!"

Barbara Shermund

Shermund's Sallies
Pictorial Review,
January 16, 1949, page 8

Scan by Dick Buchanan

My thanks to Dick Buchanan who now makes his thirty-ninth contribution to this blog with his scans of rarely-seen work by Barbara Shermund and Julian de Miskey from Pictorial Review. Dick maintains the priceless Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files and only he knows what forgotten gems will be next to emerge. He contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a post for the holidays entitled "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Winter and Holiday Gag Cartoons 1939 - 1955." You know what to do with the link.

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Barbara Shermund

Julian de Miskey

Dick Buchanan

At the Beach


Attempted Bloggery's Forgotten Index


Monday, December 17, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #643

In this corner, my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #643 for December 17, 2018. The drawing is by Mort Gerberg.
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a B-flat."

I'm afraid these captions were lightweights:
"And now for something a little punchier..."
"Finesse is overrated."

Note:  Last week cartoonist Mick Stevens served up some cake in a dark alley. My caption didn't cut it. Blow out the candles on Contest #642.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #3

It's the third installment of the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest and unlimited entries are now permitted. The drawing is by Drew Dernavich. My unlimited entries are below.

"Just call Roto-Rooter."
"At least you've finally learned to delegate."
"You missed another meeting."
"New intern?"
"And I'm certain the plumber was wearing sneakers."
"I'll decide what's a billable hour."
"Actually, I never heard of forensic plumbing."
"Let's go over again your role as an accountant."

"There's Drano under the sink."

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Diving for Greenbacks?

In decades past, it was a common practice for well-off cruise ship passengers to toss coins overboard at natives who would dive for them. This was a popular practice in the West Indies and elsewhere in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly with silver coins. The passengers found it entertaining and the divers, mostly boys or young men, found it financially rewarding. Such diving for coins is depicted on the cover of the old Life magazine for April 1936. Barbara Shermund's society matron has neglected to carry the requisite small change.
Barbara Shermund
Life, April 1936

Scan by Dick Buchanan
With this cover, Ms. Shermund brings the sensibility of her New Yorker work to Life magazine. It therefore seems fair to ask why this work didn't appear instead on the cover of the New Yorker where perhaps it might have been a more natural fit. One reason could be its similarity to the work of Helen E. Hokinson, who painted a series of New Yorker covers depicting her own society matron on a world tour.
Helen E. Hokinson
The New Yorker, March 7, 1931

Life magazine was to cease publication in November of 1936 and be replaced by Henry Luce's new magazine of the same name. Interestingly, though, within a year of the appearance of Shermund's Life cover, the New Yorker did publish a cover depicting natives diving for coins. It is by Roger Duvoisin.
Roger Duvoisin
The New Yorker, February 6, 1937

Note:  Once again I give my sincere thanks to Dick Buchanan, who now makes his thirty-eighth contribution to this blog with his scan of Barbara Shermund's splendid Life magazine cover. Dick's archive is known throughout the land as the Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files. He contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a festive post entitled "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Winter and Holiday Gag Cartoons 1939 - 1955." I highly recommend it. Heck, it's enough to make me want to learn how to turn on my scanner.

Does this sort of coin diving still occur anywhere today? Was it done in by World War II? By inflation? By clad coinage? Elie Wiesel criticizes the practice in Night (1956) on moral grounds.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Santa Pampered

In the January 1941 issue of Esquire, cartoonist Barbara Shermund reminds us that it's that time of year when everyone is eager to get on Santa Claus's good side.
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1939, page 72

The composition is very busy, but it basically is arranged along the simple diagonal established by Santa's reclining body. The color scheme is dominated by red and white, as determined by Santa's well-known outfit. His excessively ruddy complexion seems intended to make his contented face the focal point of the drawing. Three pairs of hands are drawn with great expressivity and delicacy. The exception is the comparatively crude pair of hands of the shoeshine boy. He is presented as a racial stereotype of the sort commonly portrayed in various media of the period.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Plan B

In Barbara Shermund's black-and-white cartoon from the January 1941 issue of Esquire, the lanky and feckless young man is proving to be something of a disappointment. His frustrated date knows when it's time to rejoin the party.
"Maybe you'd rather sing Christmas carols—"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1941, page 91

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Asking Santa

Are you hoping to get something special this Christmas? In the January 1941 issue of Esquire, cartoonist Barbara Shermund demonstrates how the modern woman gets it done.
"Don't bother with anything but diamonds[.]"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1941, page 32

The reds, the greens, the whites, and the grays invoke New York in the Christmas season. The background is handled deftly and convincingly. The three main figures are of different heights, yet they are arranged in space so that their heads align at roughly the same level. But the real masterstroke of the composition is how the woman leaning over to address the sidewalk Santa Claus is really talking to her husband. You can see it all in how she pulls his arm.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Costume Consternation

Barbara Shermund's cartoons for Esquire often display a different sensibility than her New Yorker work. On a 1941 full-color page that functions as much as a pin-up as a gag cartoon, we are asked to find humor in the perplexity of a naive young woman ignorant of the effect her Santa costume has on grown men.
"I can't understand it—the costume seems to fool the smaller children
all right but the big boys seem to be skeptical[.]"
Barbara Shermund
Esquire, January 1941, page 51

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Monday, December 10, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #642

Grab a fork and check out my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #642 for December 10, 2018. The drawing is by Mick Stevens.

"It's so good you'll think it's illegal—except in New Jersey."

December 17, 2018 Update:  The Finalists

Note:  Last week cartoonist Mark Thompson brought the flock in. Go to Contest #641 and have a crook-see.

Then enjoy a slice out of the archives on the subject of Mick Stevens.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Not Abnormal

Three years into the New Yorker's run, the single-panel gag cartoon had been completely reimagined. Barbara Shermund's sumptuous original art from 1928, offered for sale in 2014 by Carlson & Stevenson, carries the caption "I don't think he's abnormal—he's just versatile." In her history Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (2005), Liza Donnelly writes of this cartoon, "...the caption can be read two ways, straight or gay..." (p. 59).

"I don't think he's abnormal—he's just versatile."
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, July 21, 1928, page 12

In publishing such a smartly ambiguous cartoon caption, was the New Yorker now on its own atop the teeming world of humor magazines? It certainly seems so. Already the young upstart of a magazine had no equal in nuance. How did it happen so quickly that the New Yorker came to find its voice and allow an unknown artist like Barbara Shermund to find hers?

Carlson & Stevenson
Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, & Antique Show Catalog 2014 
Published on Jan 22, 2014 page 53

Carlson & Stevenson

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, & Antique Show Catalog 2014 
Published on Jan 22, 2014 page 53

Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and C. W. Anderson

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Level-Headed

When single-speaker captions came into their own—as opposed to the older convention of having two speakers exchanging lines of dialogue—it became practical to populate a cartoon with even larger groupings of figures engaged in conversation. The cartoonist merely had to indicate which individual was doing the speaking and which others were waiting their turn and doing the listening. An original 1927 New Yorker cartoon by Barbara Shermund from Carlson & Stevenson Antiques of Manchester, Vermont, is a beautiful example of this. Three long-limbed young women lounge outdoors on an impossibly perfect summer's day but only one is doing the talking. The topic, as it happens, is a fourth young woman who is apparently quite sensible, for a reason one might not readily guess.

"Oh my, she's very leveled-headed—her father was a lawyer!" 
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, July 30, 1927, page 18
Framed and matted, measuring 29.5 inches high by 34 inches wide

Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and Al Frueh
Note:  Editor Harold Ross's initial R, his personal approval for this cartoon to appear in the magazine, is shown in the inset.

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Just Talking....

An example of original cartoon art created by Barbara Shermund for the New Yorker in 1930 is presented in an ad by art dealers Carlson and Stevenson. The stock market crash happened a year earlier, but you'd never know it from the drawing. The three women are fashionably turned out and not coincidentally represent the sort of young, educated demographic which the magazine was actively courting. Cigarette smoking was taken to be a sign of women's independence and sophistication; our trio is accompanied by three distinct plumes of smoke which run more or less parallel to the curtains off to the right.

"Oh, she talked a lot, but she didn't give anything."
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, October 4, 1930, page 33

The composition is based on the three women's heads forming a triangle with the speaker at the apex. The women on either side lean in toward her; all together they can be seen as forming the outline of a diamond. The lines of the center chair lead the eye back up to the speaker as do the legs of the woman on the right and the right-hand edge of the table.

The caption is better balanced with the simple addition of "a lot." The central dash has been replaced in the published cartoon with a less-obtrusive comma. Sometimes it takes a little work to make a drawing appear to be effortless.

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show 2015 Catalogue, page 121

Cartoons by Leonard Dove
and Barbara Shermund


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Art Appreciation

Cartoonist Barbara Shermund's fashionable young ladies demonstrate a keen appreciation of—let's call it art—in a vintage 1927 New Yorker cartoon. The original drawing, from Vermont dealers Carlson & Stevenson, demonstrates her concern for textural detail and exhibits a surprisingly generous use of correction fluid, more prominent now that the paper has faded.

It is somewhat jarring to see how this cartoon was laid out in the magazine, spanning the inside columns across two facing pages. It must have been thought this central placement at the upper part of the page would provide balance to the extra-long drawing by Helen E. Hokinson across the bottom with its odd segmented title. This placement does a disservice to the Shermund drawing, disrupting its careful interior spacing. 
"Go right on working—we won't mind!"
Barbara Shermund
Original art
The New Yorker, June 4, 1927, pages 22-23
Framed and matted, 27.5 inches high by 35 inches wide

Cartoons by Barbara Shermund and Helen E. Hokinson

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Barbara Shermund: Hooked!

Carlson & Stevenson Antiques has been promoting original pieces by cartoonist Barbara Shermund for the past four years or so. An original watercolor of hers shows the apparent downside to successfully catching a fish, particularly for the squeamish. We are told the work was created for Esquire in the early 1950s. Now that Esquire's archive is online, it's safe to ask whether this is all a fish story.

True, the caption might have been radically altered for publication, but in its present form search results of the Esquire data base come up with nothing. Furthermore, the horizontal cartoon format seen here would not be at all typical for Esquire. Still this cartoon may have been reproduced in another magazine, or perhaps in the Sunday panel strip Shermund's Sallies.
"Good heavens, Gloria, now you'll have to put another worm on the hook!"
Barbara Shermund
Original cartoon art

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show 2018 
Published on Feb 6, 2018, page 38

Note:  Anyone knowing the publication history of this cartoon is urged to come forward.

Attempted Bloggery continues to seek images of original cartoon art by Barbara Shermund for likely inclusion in future blog posts.

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