Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Otto Soglow's Harem Scarf

Otto Soglow's most popular creation by far is the Little King, so one can understand the eagerness of the Etsy seller who listed Soglow's harem-themed scarf to identify the sultan as "The Little King in a turban." Clearly he isn't the Little King. Soglow very deliberately kept his syndicated  comic strip character out of the two scarf designs he created for Richard Farrar. This particular design is best viewed as a diamond with the sultan's turban toward the apex. Just tilt your screen.
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
In orange and brown plus black and white


Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
Top corner with O. Soglow's printed signature

Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
Top corner, draped


Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
Left corner
This particular scarf is disturbing to modern sensibilities on perhaps several levels, all originally meant to be amusing. There is the stereotypical depiction of the sultan with his hookah, of course, and the happily-enslaved women. Most troubling is the racial caricature of the two servants.
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
The sultan


The sale price of the orange and brown scarf is not recorded. The seller writes, "Quirky Art Deco silk scarf is really a vinage [sic] New Yorker cartoon, The Little King…" Out of all that, the words quirky, silk, and scarf are 100% correct.
Otto Soglow
Etsy Listing Sold October 13, 2018


Otto Soglow
Etsy Item Description
"…The Little King in his turban…"





There are also four photos of this scarf in the same orange and brown color scheme from an eBay sale archived on Worthpoint:

Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
In orange and brown plus black and white









Another Etsy seller offered a version of this scarf in dark gray and red, plus black and white. The seller dated this scarf incorrectly to the 1930s.
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
In dark gray and red plus black and white


Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
Detail of sultan and servants
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
Inverted orientation

O. Soglow's printed signature

Otto Soglow
Etsy Listing Sold February 1, 2014

Otto Soglow
Pinterest pin records the $109 Etsy sale price


An eBay sale archived on Worthpoint shows the inversion of the red and dark gray colors.
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
In red and dark gray plus black and white



A third Etsy seller offers yet another color combination. This seller also dates the scarf to  the 1930s. It is more likely from the 1940s to 1950s. The scarf was offered at $80. The seller currently has no items for sale.
Otto Soglow
Harem scarf design for Richard Farrar
The sultan and his servants
In red and turquoise plus black, white, and light gray





Note:
  
A big thank you to Addams aficionado Joel Jacobus for first alerting me to the existence of the two Soglow scarf designs featured on the blog these past two days. There are, no doubt, other color combinations of these as well of the other Richard Farrar scarves designed by New Yorker artists. Readers who come across these rarities in bottom drawers or at estate sales should photograph them and send them in for the sake of posterity. If there were an internet seventy years ago, all these scarves would have been immortalized from day one, but there wasn't so it's up to us to play catchup.

The one Richard Farrar scarf in the series we have yet to find a single example of is the one by the great Helen E. Hokinson. Scour the countryside, readers!

But enough about scarves. Original art by Otto Soglow is always welcome here on the old blog. Rare published cartoons are also sought after.



Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Otto Soglow

Richard Farrar Scarves

Women's Fashion

The Harem Girls of E. Simms Campbell

Racism in Cartoons

Attempted Bloggery's Index of 1,001 Nights


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