Friday, February 21, 2020

Ronald Searle: The Thing from Underground

Ronald Searle's lithograph The Thing from Underground was issued in 1969 with two color variants each in a larger edition size than the 99 he usually produced. The variant in black, gold, orange, blue, and green was published in an edition of 120 plus XX artist's proofs and an additional XL copies in roman numerals. The second variant in black and orange had an edition size of 150 plus II artist's proofs and a further roman numeral edition of L. Despite the large edition sizes, these prints are seldom encountered today.
Ronald Searle
The Thing from Underground
Variant in black and orange
Gurlitt 44 (1971)
Roman numeral edition of L aside from the edition of 150 +II, 1969


There was also a spring 1969 exhibition poster variant signed in the stone for Ferdinand Roten Galleries at Brentano's in San Francisco, apparently in black and red. This rarity came up for auction early this month in the Netherlands and failed to find a buyer.
Ronald Searle
The Thing from Underground
Exhibition Poster for Ferdinand Roten Galleries at Brentano's, San Francisco
Not in Gurlitt (1971)


Ronald Searle
Lot Passed


Note:
  I would like to hear from anyone with access to the lithograph variant printed in five colors (Gurlitt 43) or to other poster variants, if there are any.


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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ronald Searle: The Good Old Days

"Monica told us the bicycle in Searle's work is symbolic of happiness."
—Matt Jones 
"New Year with the Searles"


Ronald Searle's lithograph The Good Old Days was published in 1972. It was followed five years later by The Good Old Days II. Both featured animals on bicycles and both were published in editions of 99.

Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days
Edition of 99, 1972



The Good Old days II is in the collection of children's book author and illustrator Sandra Boynton, for one:
Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days II
Edition of 99, 1977


A roughly contemporaneous watercolor of the same subject (here published as a postcard) uses the lower left of the image to make a more environmental statement. Maybe the good old days weren't quite so good.
Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days

Detail:
Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days [detail]



Searle sold a later (but undated) color drawing at Christie's in 2007 depicting a similar scene with a cat warmed by a scarf:

Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days
No date
Ronald Searle
Christie's South Kensington, 3 July 2007




Another print, 42/99, of The Good Old Days II was offered on eBay in 2015. The photos give an idea of the extraordinary detail Searle put into his lithographic works. It sold for just half the price it had retailed for at Brentano's circa the late 1970s—a steal!

Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days II
42/99, 1977

Ronald SearleThe Good Old Days II
42/99, 1977





Ronald Searle's signature and date in pencil






Ronald Searle
The Good Old Days II42/99, 1977


Ronald Searle
eBay Listing Ended October 25, 2015


Ronald Searle
eBay Item Description

No Q&A

eBay Bid History
Just one bid four days into the ten day auction






Note:  Almost no casual cyclist wore a bicycle helmet in the 1970s.




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Cats

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #63

Personally, I don't see anything funny about doctor cartoons unless the doctor is a psychiatrist, but I entered the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #63 anyway. Three entries are permitted. The drawing is by Teresa Burns Parkhurst.
"Grass-fed my ass."
"I'm putting you on almond milk."
"Your cholesterol is over the moon."




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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

David Levine's Signature

"There is no collectible genre that has more deceit than the autograph business." One can have nothing but respect for an autograph dealer who leads with that line. Here then is what is certainly an authentic signature of David Levine, whom Jules Feiffer called "the greatest caricaturist of the last half of the 20th century":

David Levine's signature

David Levine
eBay Listing Ended February 6, 2017





David Levine
eBay Item Description





Note:  I don't really understand why there isn't a blog somewhere devoted to the art of David Levine or, if there is one, why I can't seem to find it. Last year Jerelle Kraus wrote a very good piece on "David Levine and the Power of Political Caricature" all about trying to get him published in the Times here.


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Monday, February 17, 2020

David Levine: Hearing No Evil

A drawing by caricaturist David Levine gathers the personalities from the Watergate scandal in a circle. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on in a clockwise manner. The image appeared on a printed insert included in the tenth anniversary issue of the New York Review of Books in the summer of 1973. The listening devices in the drawing are unmistakeable references to the White House tapes recorded by President Nixon in the Oval Office. Caricaturist Bado points out on his blog that Levine's image is based on a Thomas Nast political cartoon of Boss Tweed and the Tammany Ring. The eight Nixon Administration caricatures were familiar figures on the nightly news then, but they are not so familiar to us today. Left to right they are (to the best of my and my family's recollection): unidentified, unidentified, John Mitchell, Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman, John Dean, unidentified, and H. R. Haldeman.
David Levine
New York Review of Books Tenth Anniversary Issue, October 18, 1973
Thomas Nast
"Who Stole the People's Money?" 'Twas Him
Harper's Weekly, 
August 19, 1871


Royal Books, which offers this print for sale as a broadside, makes some other interesting assertions as well. To be clear, the New York Review of Books is not the same thing as the New York Times Book Review, Vice President Spiro Agnew does not appear in this print, and "passing the buck" does not fully convey the degree of moral turpitude permeating the Nixon White House.
David Levine
Royal Books Listing Accessed March 17, 2019

Thomas Nast
Two Great Questions
Harper's Weekly,
August 19, 1871






Note:  I'm afraid I've come up a bit short in my ability to recognize all the coconspirators from the Nixon Administration. My thanks to my father for being able to recognize John Dean without his, Dean's, glasses on. Political junkies are invited to help me identify the remaining unnamed figures in the Levine drawing. Avid historians are also welcome to identify the individuals in the Nast drawings standing with Boss Tweed.


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Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Walt Disney Sketch of Mickey Mouse

So many purported Walt Disney autographs were actually signed by his personnel that it's refreshing to see an autograph penned by Disney himself when he was away visiting his family in Ireland, far from the usual studio set of secretaries and animators. Of course, it's all the better that there is a drawing included of the world's most beloved mouse.

Presale estimate

"To ANNE
WITH BEST WISHES
WALT DISNEY"

Judy Garland's autograph

Autographs of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

The autograph album


Walt Disney
RR Auction
February 2020

Note:  Readers in possession of their own autograph albums this breathtaking, or nearly so, might want to make other readers envious by sending a few heartbreakingly beautiful scans to Attempted Bloggery. My readers can take it.



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