Friday, January 31, 2020

Maurice Sendak: Moishe by Moonlight

We are plausibly told that the second state of Maurice Sendak's 1980 etching Moishe by Moonlight is a rarity, but that doesn't quite tell us how many prints of this image were actually pulled. It's an atmospheric etching of a Wild Thing that would look splendid on any wall. Some of us who admire it though might find the $60,000 price tag to be somewhat prohibitive. 
Maurice Sendak
Moishe by Moonlight
Etching, Second State, 1980

Maurice Sendak

I believe I saw this impressive piece on display at the Society of Illustrators in November but I was not up to the challenge of photographing it through reflective glass.
Maurice Sendak
Moishe by Moonlight
Etching, Second State, 1980
The Society of Illustrators
November 6, 2020


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Georg Jensen Brooch #88 with Lapis

In September an example of Georg Jensen brooch #88 with a lapis lazuli cabochon was sold on eBay. The brooch is small and this design is not all that common, particularly with colored stones. It is sterling silver, of course, and bears the post-1945 hallmark with the name Georg Jensen in a dotted oval.

Georg Jensen
eBay Listing Ended September 20, 2019

Georg Jensen
eBay Item Description

Drucker Antiques has an example of this brooch design with an amethyst stone for $395. The photograph does not seem to capture the stone's color.
Georg Jensen brooch #88 with amethyst
Post-1945, .925 silver, Drucker Antiques

An earlier example is all .830 silver with a silverstone:
Georg Jensen brooch #88 with silverstone
GI hallmark, .830 silver, trombone clasp

Georg Jensen brooch #88 with silver stone
GI hallmark, .830 silver, trombone clasp

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #60

A man sits perched in a birdcage while the speaker is a woman, surely his wife, who is having tea with a friend. This is the setup for the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #60. Only three entries are permitted and I for once followed the rules. The drawing is by Christopher Weyant.

"I finally got him to stop tweeting."
"Trust me, nothing is getting laid."
"The nest has been feeling even emptier."

February 5, 2020 Update:  The Winner

Note:  Does this contest seem unusually similar to Mr. Weyant's recent New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #686 for November 18, 2019? Asking for a friend.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My Copy of Patricia Marx and Roz Chast's You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples

Patty Marx won me over with her novel Him Her Him Again the End of Him (2007), a hilarious sendup of contemporary relationships and, as a bonus, academic pretense. Roz Chast has been one of the New Yorker's most original cartoonist voices for more than four decades. Last year the two collaborated on the book Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? A Mother's Suggestions published in time for Mother's Day gift giving. This year their new collaboration is You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples published—lo and behold!—in time for Valentine's Day. I ordered my copy just before Strand's January 14 signing and it has been delivered via mail signed by both women and...dogeared.

Roz Chast at Strand
January 14, 2020

Photo by Tom Bloom

Dueling ukuleles
Patricia Marx and Roz Chast at Strand
January 14, 2020

Photo by Tom Bloom

Roz Chast and Patricia Marx discuss their book
You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples (2020)
January 14, 2020 at Strand Bookstore

Note:  My thanks to Tom Bloom for attending the signing himself and for bringing his camera along.


Monday, January 27, 2020

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #695

Please accept without reservation my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #695 for January 27, 2020. The drawing is by Elisabeth McNair.
"We don't have any toastmasters' meeting."

February 3, 2020 Update:  The Finalists

February 10, 2020 Update:  I voted with Austerlitz.

February 24, 2020 Update:
  The Winner

Note:  In last week's Caption Contest, cartoonist P. C. Vey
 saw to it that the snow was shoveled with musical accompaniment. My caption was out of tune. Clear a path to Contest #694.

This is the first appearance on this blog of cartoonist Elisabeth McNair.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Mischa Richter: Taming of the Shrew Scarf for Richard Farrar

I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua.
The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, scene ii

As we have seen, New Yorker artists Charles Addams, Helen E. Hokinson, Anatol Kovarsky, and Otto Soglow were enlisted by Richard Farrar to design scarves for his label in the 1940s and 1950s. Addams's design incorporated characters from his namesake Family before it was so named. Hokinson's design has not yet made it to the internet, apparently. Kovarsky and Soglow each contributed two designs that we know of. And now, via eBay, we have a standard small silk scarf, 17 x 16.5 inches, in green, black, and white by cartoonist Mischa Richter. The title is Taming  of the Shrew after the popular Shakespeare play. It has a central title area with signature that incorrectly depicts the Tower of Pisa—never in Padua—along with a cherub and a lute. Four corners have vignettes from the play and there is a surrounding border showing phases of the moon.

Mischa Richter
Taming of the Shrew scarf design in green, black, and white for Richard Farrar

The Leaning Tower of...Padua?
Taming of the Shrew copyright Richter

Music appreciation:  Katherine and Hortensio's encounter

It is actually not at all Shakespearean for Petruchio to use a whip on Katherine. The stage practice comes from David Garrick's 1754 performing version Catharine and Petruchio.

Petruchio and Katherine off early on their honeymoon even before the wedding feast

Happily ever after

Richard A. Farrar tag

Saks Fifth Avenue tag

Detail of moon border

Copyright and signature

Mischa Richter
eBay Listing accessed January 7, 2020

Mischa Richter
eBay Item Description Accessed January 7, 2020
Sold for a Best offer of $30

Note:  My sincere thanks to Joel Jacobus, specialist in Charles Addams memorabilia, who alerted me earlier this month to the eBay listing for this scarf when it showed up out of the blue.

The story of these Richard A. Farrar scarves designed by New Yorker cartoonists remains incomplete. Readers with new information about them should get in touch. Other scarf designs and color combinations are sought after here as well.

This blog can always use further examples of original art, as well as published rarities, by Mischa Richter.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Michael Knudsen's Paper Napkin Drawing by Saul Steinberg

Today David from Manhattan contributes images of a paper restaurant napkin drawn upon by none other than Saul Steinberg (1914-1999). David has spent some considerable time and effort researching this napkin and now he reports his findings to us here. He writes:
This pen and brown ink profile, on a 13 ¼ x10 inch brown napkin, dated April 1946, turned up in late 2010 on eBay, accompanied by a first edition of All In Line, which had come out the year before the drawing.
Saul Steinberg
Napkin inscribed "FOR MIKE with LOVE/ST./April 46"

Detail  of a woman in profile
from All in Line (1945)

As the successful buyer, I found out from the seller that it had been part of the estate of Michael B. Knudsen (1911-2010) of Kendall Park, N.J., and was sold, per the instructions of his widow, Sabrina Beaver Knudsen, at a local auction that same year. An on-line obituary included a heartfelt note from Annelise Fjeld Knutsen (correct spelling—not my typo) of Norway, calling Michael “The great American novel in person,” and who answered a letter I sent her. She had no information on the Steinberg drawing or MK’s friendship with the artist, but she had this to say about her father’s second cousin: “Mike was larger than life. He was a painter (he told me that one of his paintings was in a museum in Athens, Ga.), he was an actor (a friend of Henry Fonda, babysitting Jane and Peter), he wrote screenplays (none of them turned into films/plays), he produced men’s cologne…BUT he had sort of a restless, joyful way of living that prevented him from holding focus on one thing. He described himself as a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none.’” A little on-line searching confirmed much of this. In the inventory of the Georgia Museum of Art there is an undated Gouache Abstract by Knudsen (and incorrectly calling him Swedish) which according to curator Sarah Kate Gillespie, was a 1948 gift of Hazel Guggenheim McKinley, a friend of the museum’s founder, Alfred Holbrook, and also Peggy Guggenheim’s sister and Michael’s long-time lover (this last tidbit comes from Ms. Knutsen, not Sarah Kate).

Michael Knudsen's Gouache Abstract in the collection of the Georgia Museum of Art

"Image not available"

Mr. Knudsen also had uncredited parts in two Robert Walker films: "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944) and "The Clock" (1945). In 1957 he created a cologne for men, Gravel, which is no longer made, but still has a serious following, not to mention a flattering website, “Gravel A Man’s Cologne” that features numerous photos of Michael and the story of his “vibrant classic,” which included actual gravel at the bottom of each bottle. I also found a copyrighted booklet, Interlocking rug sections and padding for do-it-yourself wall-to-wall carpeting, also from 1957, and most likely not screenplay material.

The year Steinberg made his drawing is also of interest. According to the Chronology at the back of Joel Smith’s Saul Steinberg: Illuminations (2006), Steinberg belonged “to a regular crowd of artists, designers, writers, and architects who socialize at Del Pezzo, a midtown Manhattan restaurant.” From June ‘46 on, he left New York and traveled widely. Del Pezzo is not mentioned again. If I ever have an opportunity to examine Steinberg’s appointment book from that period at Yale, I might discover if Steinberg had dinner with “Mike” one night in April, or if it was merely an unplanned encounter. At least one photo of Hazel Guggenheim I located is reminiscent of the woman on the napkin, which raises the question of whether Knudsen was by himself that evening at Del Pezzo.
Hazel Guggenheim
Detail of profile

Michael Knudsen and Hazel Guggenheim

Michael Knudsen
Work on paper

How much longer Michael Knudsen’s art career lasted, I have no idea, but examples of his work turn up from time to time on eBay, and were probably part of the same 2010 New Jersey auction that sold the napkin (including two pieces currently offered by a seller from Scotch Plains). I suspect that Knudsen’s friendship with Steinberg, despite the warmth of the inscription, was not long term; the Steinberg Foundation has no information on him.
Detail of napkin inscription

Saul Steinberg's signature on a brown paper napkin

Saul Steinberg
"Pencil Sketch"
eBay Listing Ended December 7, 2010

Note:  My sincere thanks to David from Manhattan for contributing the photographs in today's post and contextualizing them with all his research. This is David's thirty-fifth contribution to the blog for those who like to keep score at home.