Sunday, January 31, 2021

Roz Chast's Susan D.: The Woman Without a Heyday

A friend writes:

I want to tell you about my greatest collecting regret when I let a work by the great cartoonist Roz Chast slip through my fingers. It was in the late '80's I encountered a selection of original cartoons of hers available at the Illustration Gallery in lower Manhattan. The one that caught my eye was on a display rack with other cartoons of hers. (There were other racks with the work of other cartoonists too.) I don't remember any of the other cartoons. I balked at the hefty price tag but I loved the cartoon— Susan D.: The Woman Without a HEYDAY. Maybe it was just the idea of the cartoon I loved. I was a graduate student and gee I could relate, myself being a man without a heyday. In retrospect of course it was my heyday there and then and I should have bought the cartoon anyway there and then. Maybe it was that I didn't relate to it being a woman in the cartoon. Also I had brought a first date into the gallery (not recommended, by the way) and there was no way to actually buy such a ridiculous extravagance for myself on our way to dinner unless I were to return on my own the next day. Again, it was a lot of money I didn't have, I had no income of my own to speak of...which went along with having no heyday. So when the original unexpectedly turned up on eBay [in 2016], I got the rare opportunity to finally make matters right and buy the thing for myself. And I did, almost thirty years after the fact, and for less than I would have paid in the heyday I didn't think I had.

It looks as if the cartoon original did not sell for ten years after this near miss, so that was good work, if not swift work. The eBay seller has done a great job with the photos and documents, but has gotten a few things inexplicably wrong in the text. First off, this is an original drawing, not an "original print" and not a "printer's proof." The cartoon was never published in The New Yorker—and why not?—but it was collected in the book Parallel Universes (1984).

Certificate of Authenticity signed by Roz Chast

Roz Chast
eBay listing ended February 27, 2016

Roz Chast
eBay item description

Roz Chast
eBay bid history
Five bids in total were made by three bidders. Four bids from two bidders came in the last ten minutes of the auction. Here the last bid wins.

Parallel Universes (1984)

Note:  I'll pretend you don't already know what I'm going to say here. This blogger would like to post more original art by Roz Chast along with more stories about the art. Please send scans, photos, and reminiscences.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Frank Modell's Unknown Citizen

Frank Modell's New Yorker cartoon of November 7, 1977 uses simple lines and shading to make its point. There is no caption but the two words on the pedestal of the statue say all that needs saying. The original art was sold on Thursday at Swann Auction Galleries at the midrange of its presale estimate.

Frank Modell
Swann Galleries Hammer Price
January 28, 2021

Frank Modell
Swann Galleries Price Realized with Buyer's Premium
January 28, 2021

Advertisement for Bermuda Festival 1977 and cartoon by Frank Modell

Note:  I'd like to post more images of original art by Frank Modell. Please send scans or photos and tell me what you know about them.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Thoughts of the Sportsman: Charles Addams and Lee Lorenz

An original Charles Addams bowling cartoon from 1962 was sold yesterday at Swann Auction Galleries in New York. The New Yorker drawing gives us an unusual insight into the thoughts of the bowler. Is the cartoon misogynistic? The humorously-depicted thought balloon might suggest that to many of us today. Overall, though, the cartoonist's oeuvre shows Addams to be more or less evenhanded in how he doles out fantasies of implied bodily harm between the sexes.

Just two years later, again in the pages of The New Yorker, another cartoonist, Lee Lorenz, addresses a very similar theme, this time on the golf course. We don't get to see the golfing man's thoughts here, but we do get to hear his wife's suspicion of what they might be. The New Yorker rough was also offered in the sale yesterday at Swann Galleries. It would have made a fine addition to just about any cartoon collection, but it went unsold.

More details:

Charles Addams
Swann Galleries Price Realized
January 28, 2021

Charles Addams
Swann Galleries Price Realized
January 28, 2021

Lee Lorenz
Swann Galleries Sale Result
January 28, 2021

Poem by T. H. White, spot drawing by D. Spiegel [?], and cartoon by Charles Addams

World's Fair spot drawing by Alan Dunn and cartoon by Lee Lorenz


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Newton Brand, Jr.,'s Copy of Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth

Newton Brand, Jr., was a Texas banker who, we have seen, collected cartoon books drawn in and signed by preeminent New Yorker cartoonists. It seems likely he built his collection over time from a distance, by mail. His copy of Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth (1984) has just come to light thanks to David from Manhattan, who reports getting it for $115. George Booth is a beloved cartoonist who delights us by populating his world with an endless variety of quirky characters: people, dogs, and cats, sometimes even chickens. In this book, there is a drawing of a somewhat unkempt-appearing codger viewed from behind while he enjoys his pipe.

Photo by David from Manhattan

This cover photo is of a different copy of the book:

Note:  My thanks to David from Manhattan for adding this book to our virtual recreation of the library of Newton Brand, Jr. This is David's forty-second contribution to Attempted Bloggery, give or take.

Any other personalized cartoon books from the library of Newton Brand, Jr., would, of course, be of interest.

Images of other original works by George Booth are sought after here as well. Of course.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #111

It isn't the Ministry of Silly Walks, it's the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #111. My three entries are below. The drawing is by Teresa Burns Parkhurst.

"Lunge at ME when I'm talking to you."
"Your workouts are hamstringing our relationship."
"You know damn well what I mean by 'Walk this way.'"

February 4, 2021 Update:  The Winner


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

In Praise of Understatement: Gahan Wilson and Derek Evernden

Most people, when they think of cartoonist Gahan Wilson, do not consider him a master of understatement. But if we pair a Playboy cartoon of his with a contemporary Bogart Creek panel by Derek Evernden, the subtlety of Wilson's composition becomes apparent. By the way, which cartoon do you prefer?
Gahan Wilson
Playboy, February 1968

Derek Evernden
Bogart Creek, October 5, 2019

Note:  Credit where credit's due: It appears I am not the first to notice the similarity of these two cartoons. John A. Kurtz pointed it out a year ago on the Cartoon Collections Facebook page here.

I didn't have the publication date for the Gahan Wilson Playboy cartoon when I first posted this. Thanks to David from Manhattan for providing chapter and verse.


Monday, January 25, 2021

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #741

Let's raise a glass to my entry, below, in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #741 for January 25, 2021. The drawing is by Michael Maslin.

"Once you start using them, you see them everywhere."

February 1, 2021 Update:  The Finalists


February 8, 2020 Update:  I voted for the caption from Las Vegas. It had no word play, but I thought it fit the drawing best.

February 25, 2021 Update:
  The Winner


Sunday, January 24, 2021

James Thurber: Dogs with Falling Leaves Scarf

"Dogs are now saying 'scarf' when they bark." That advertising copy seems cringeworthy today, but the design of the scarf itself, which includes a James Thurber dog sitting and watching the leaves fall, has kept its charm. The scarf is designed by Richard A. Farrar based on Thurber dog drawings. Farrar, we know, also designed scarves with art by New Yorker regulars Charles Addams, Helen E. Hokinson, Anatol Kovarsky, Mischa Richter, and Otto Soglow. The Thurber dogs silk scarves illustrated in the ad were available in five colors—red, white, black, green, and yellow—and in two sizes, 18" (for $3.00) and 33" (for $7.95). In today's dollars, that's about $29 and $77.

Richard A. Farrar advertisement
The New Yorker, October 31, 1953, page 72

This, then, would be the fourth Thurber scarf design we know of—let's call it "Dogs with Falling Leaves"—and the second which can be confirmed as a Richard A. Farrar scarf. To review, here are the other three, along with my own unimaginative names for them:

1. "Dogs on the Lawn," Richard A. Farrar

2. "Dogs and Clover," designer unknown

3. "Dogs in the Garden," designer unknown

Note:  Clearly, what the world needs now—besides love, sweet love—is to see more James Thurber scarves. We have no examples as yet of the "Dogs with Falling Leaves" scarf, let alone of the five colors and two sizes in which it was produced. Of the three scarf designs we have already seen, presumedly there are additional variants as well. One can hope that some scarf will soon be found to bear evidence of its brand, perhaps a tag or original box, identifying the maker of the "Dogs and Clover" as well as the "Dogs in the Garden" scarf.

As yet we have no examples to show of the Farrar Helen E. Hokinson scarf. Where are they?

Additional color schemes for the scarves by Charles Addams, Anatol Kovarsky, Mischa Richter, and Otto Soglow would also be helpful. Please check the blog archives for what is already on file. There might even be other scarf designs, perhaps by other New Yorker artists, that we don't yet know of.

The above advertisement is the first we've encountered for a Richard A. Farrar scarf design based on the work of a New Yorker cartoonist. That means there could very well be other such ads out there. If you find one, please send a copy this way.

Sherlock Holmes had his Baker Street Irregulars. I have you. Gang, let's start looking.

And, while you're at it, if you can also find love, sweet love, that's not bad either.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

James Thurber Scarf: Dogs in the Garden

A scarf with images of James Thurber's dogs in a garden is the third such design we have seen based on Thurber's dogs. The label is unknown, but the best candidates would seem to be Richard A. Farrar and Thurber House.

Reverse side

James Thurber
eBay listing ended December 9, 2020

James Thurber
eBay item description

James Thurber
eBay bid history

On Ink Spill, Michael Maslin recently featured a Thurber spot drawing from The New Yorker of May 29, 1943, noting that John Updike owned a variation on the drawing. The published drawing would seem to be the very same drawing used in the center of the scarf. Observe how the magazine oriented the image at a far better angle than the scarf designer, unless the central image of the scarf is meant to be viewed diagonally.
James Thurber
Spot drawing
The New Yorker, May 29, 1943, page 20

Spot drawing by James Thurber and a cartoon by Perry Barlow

Note:  I am always on the lookout for other examples of scarves based on the work of James Thurber or of other New Yorker artists. In addition, anyone who knows the maker of this scarf, please come forward.