Sunday, July 5, 2020

Richard and Dorothy Rodgers's Copy of Give Up? by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

A Friend of the Blog writes with photos of Richard and Dorothy Rodgers's personalized copy of the cartoon collection Give Up? Published in 1966, this copy of the book was inscribed by cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr., to the composer and his wife in the year of publication. A delightful watercolor sketch on the theme of the title cartoon is included.
Darrow, Whitney Jr. Give Up?:  A New Cartoon Collection. Simon and Schuster, 1966.
Front cover
Photo by A Friend of the Blog

Darrow, Whitney Jr. Give Up?:  A New Cartoon Collection. Simon and Schuster, 1966.
Inscribed "For Dorothy and Dick with love
from Whitney
Photo by A Friend of the Blog

Note:  My thanks to A Friend of the Blog for this wonderful contribution. Attempted Bloggery would like to publish reader submissions of other original drawings by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Richard Rodgers

Henry Martin (1925-2020)

Books with Original Drawings


Attempted Bloggery's Unidentified Flying Index


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Twelve by William Steig

David from Manhattan reports on a group of twelve unpublished drawings by New Yorker cartoonist William Steig that were sold at Swann Galleries on September 29, 2016. In keeping with yesterday's subject matter, The Art of the Redraw, we'll start with a variant of a New Yorker cartoon that rivals and quite possibly outshines the published version. Though technically not a redraw done after publication, it is an alternative version very likely intended by the artist to appear in the magazine as the final version. Why didn't it? I believe the magazine's editors requested, somewhat unnecessarily, that Steig make it clearer this man returning home is inebriated, hence the too-obvious bottle of liquor in his pocket. But I'll let David tell the story of all twelve drawings his own way. He writes:

The drunk cartoon with penciled caption has had a chunk of paper torn off at left. Possibly an earlier version of something published, as it is definitely not a rough. Luckily I had some matching paper, and that, plus a matte, makes it quite presentable.
The drawing "Where's the reception committee?" falls into the different, better version category. The final version appeared [in The New Yorker of] Apr. 3 '65. The caption is an improvement, but the drunken husband falls short I think. Of course, Steig I suspect would have been quite content to draw drunken husbands all day long if he was in the mood.

Cartoon by William Steig

Businessman dragging a clock. Scan is on the Swann website. A curious drawing which has grown on me.

Stairway to the stars. Again, scan on website. As a reader, and book buyer, this obviously appeals to me, and looks very nice on the wall. Probably done around the time of the clock drawing.

William Steig

The dog and sleeping master is my favorite.

The satyr drawing is another favorite.

Watercolor: 10 x 10 but my scanner cut it off at the sides. The children are a bit generic for Steig, but the explosion of plants and color is quite nice. Unsigned.

The lovers: similar size to the above, and once again my scanner couldn't quite handle it. Looks like a rejected or preliminary drawing for Male/Female.

Small sketch of a man. Reverse has the handstamp of a Lewis Nichols of West 10th St. struck many times and clearly cut from a larger sheet. Perhaps Steig rescued some free art materials as he was strolling through the Village on garbage day.

Portrait of a woman. One of Steig's "odd ducks" to quote his widow. Signed in pencil.

Bird cage in the garden. Sweet but nothing special.

Medieval king. Unsigned, wear, notes in the same ink on back giving info on a Louise Spillia, including what appears to be a social security #, 2 addresses and 2 phone #s! In spite of the faults I rather like the guy!

Desk on the mountain. Smeared, in anger it seems, with the same pinkish ink as the clock drawing. Utterly without charm. Idea for some dopey ad or commercial? Awful.

Note: And there you have it. My sincere thanks to David from Manhattan for providing all these images as well as the informative commentary. This is his thirty-ninth contribution to Attempted Bloggery.

I am still hoping to publish a few posts with the heading The Art of the Redraw. The problem is I don't have any further examples of redraws which surpass the published version. Readers are invited to submit examples of redrawn cartoons or other variants that can be said to be superior in some way to the published originals.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Art of the Redraw: Sunflower Slow Drag by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

"And now for an encore, Scott Joplin's 'Sunflower Slow Drag'."
Whitney Darrow, Jr.
The New Yorker, September 30, 1974, page 29
Published as 
"And now, for an encore, Scott Joplin's 'Sunflower Slow Drag.'"

Longtime contributor David from Manhattan writes with an interesting observation about an original cartoon by Whitney Darrow, Jr., currently listed on eBay:

Up on eBay is a nice Whitney Darrow cartoon: "And now for an encore, Scott Joplin's 'Sunflower Slow Drag'" with an inscription and tiny drawing. The cartoon was published [in The New Yorker of] Sept. 30, '74, but I was surprised to discover that the published version simply isn't as well drawn as the eBay offering. I can't believe Darrow thought the "final" version was his best effort. Is it possible he redrew the whole thing in '79, the date of the inscription? As you know, Darrow was pretty generous with his drawings in books, so I don't think it's completely absurd he would have gone to that trouble, especially if it was someone he knew. Anyway, I put that out there. The seller doesn't know the publication date.

Surely one could dedicate an entire blog to the things eBay sellers don't know. One would think a seller who could tell you that "Sunflower Slow Drag" was published in 1901 could just as easily google the full caption. But perhaps that's asking too much.

Darrow was indeed generous with his souvenir drawings. Even so, this redraw of a New Yorker cartoon in honor of the recipient Robin's birthday is awfully nice. Let's have another look.




Signature of Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Darrow must have deliberately omitted the comma after now, as published in the New Yorker. This improves the flow of the caption.

Inscription with drawing

The minuscule drawing is similar to the drawing by Darrow on the Nicholls Gallery poster seen in yesterday's post:

Darrow's details remain remarkably clean and crisp:

Whitney Darrow, Jr.
eBay Listing Accessed June 30, 2020

Whitney Darrow, Jr.
eBay Item Description

[End of eBay Listing]

So now let's compare the published New Yorker cartoon with this redraw found on eBay. Which do you prefer?

"And now for an encore, Scott Joplin's 'Sunflower Slow Drag'."
Whitney Darrow, Jr.
The New Yorker, September 30, 1974, page 29
Published as 
"And now, for an encore, Scott Joplin's 'Sunflower Slow Drag.'"

Spot drawing by Henry Martin and cartoon by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

What should we make of this? Actually, it's not at all unheard of for an artist's redraw of a New Yorker cartoon to be more pleasing than the original. Why should that be? For one thing, the published version might have been drawn hastily under pressure of a deadline or the onus of certain editorial demands. Redraws, on the other hand, may be done at leisure for collectors who missed out on the original or for friends. The artist has the opportunity to rethink the work without concerns for the needs of the printer or the editors; the sole purpose is to please the recipient. A redraw which is better-drawn than the original is a worthy consolation prize for the recipient who cannot have the published original. It might also give the artist a chance to prove that he can produce better work without the demands of his editors.

Sunflower Slow Drag (1901)
by Scott Joplin and Scott Hayden
Piano Roll

Note:  At the time of posting, the Darrow redraw remains available on eBay.

This is a topic which I'm hoping to elaborate on in a few posts with the heading The Art of the Redraw. Readers are invited to submit examples of redrawn cartoons that can be said to outdo in some way the published originals.

I've visited this topic before, as it turns out. Follow the aqua links for examples by Frank Modell, Liza Donnelly, and E. H. Shepard. Modell upped his drawing game while Donnelly and Shepard added vibrant color to their redraws.

My gratitude to David from Manhattan for bringing this eBay auction to my attention and doing all the research. This is his thirty-eighth contribution to Attempted Bloggery.

Spot drawing
Henry Martin

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Henry Martin (1925-2020)



Attempted Bloggery's Mushrooming Index


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Whitney Darrow, Jr.: A Signed Nicholls Gallery Poster

A poster for a 1978 exhibition at the Nicholls Gallery by New Yorker cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr., is signed and inscribed by the artist "For Donald on his birthday," the small inscription accompanied by the tiniest of drawings. The poster art iytelf depicts a Manhattan cocktail party in which everyone, even a baby, has an age-appropriate drink in hand. It's a lively and crowded composition which includes the city's bustling air traffic, but who can get past that baby propped on the balcony ledge? Was this not taboo even in 1978? Or are we supposed to surmise that there is another balcony immediately on the near side of the ledge, presumably from which we are viewing this scene?

The full inscription


Whitney Darrow, Jr.
eBay Listing Accessed June 30, 2020

Whitney Darrow, Jr.
eBay Item Description

Note:  At the time of posting, the Nicholls Gallery poster remains available on eBay.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Signed Posters

Nicholls Gallery

Attempted Bloggery's Homebound Index


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #81

Sink your teeth into the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #81. My three entries are shown here. The drawing is by Teresa Burns Parkhurst.
"I'm just glad we don't have to eat outdoors."
"This place is great. Feel like a good yelp?"
"This joint could sure use some nuts."

Note:  Readers are welcome to leave their own entries as comments.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Whitney Darrow, Jr.: Creative Block

Original art from the New Yorker by Whitney Darrow, Jr., was offered by Taraba Illustration Art in 2016. The listing read "Overindulged child bored on a rainy day. This is 13 x 11.25” and appeared in The New Yorker on August 26th, 1974... Darrow was so good at finding humor in the human condition. This one’s priced at only $1000 + $50 as share of domestic shipping… " Me, I love the way the mother offers her daughter so many creative options while the child just wants to go out and run around.

"Why don't you sing, weave, paint, sculpt, compose[,] or something?"
Whitney Darrow, Jr.
Original art

The New Yorker, August 26, 1974, page 23

Spot drawing by Kenneth Mahood and cartoon by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Note:  Attempted Bloggery seeks other examples of original art by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Original New Yorker Cartoon Art

Attempted Bloggery's Homebound Index