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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