Sunday, February 10, 2019

Helen E. Hokinson: Secret Recipe

The highest auction price fetched of any of the four New Yorker originals by Helen E. Hokinson offered at Doyle New York last November was $531 for the cocktail party cartoon, and still it was below the low estimate. The composition is set up along diagonals, the stronger being lower left to upper right, with the two-point perspective serving to lead the eye toward the speaker, not coincidentally the largest figure in the group. Her chair at lower right easily could have been eliminated; instead it adds convincing depth to the room. If one follows the sweep of just the heads they form the shape of a cane. All the heads are shown unobstructed; the speaker's is framed by the lampshade. None of this, of course, is accidental. And it's all set up to serve a six-word caption.

"You'd never dream what's in these."
Helen E. Hokinson
Original art
The New Yorker, July 23, 1949, page 26

Doyle New York

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps
November 13, 2018
Sale 18BP02, Lot 9

Cartoons by Helen E. Hokinson and Alan Dunn

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