Saturday, January 9, 2021

Blog Post No. 3500: William Steig's "What Is Art?"

Dick Buchanan, standard-bearer of the Cartoon Clip Files, writes about an original art acquisition:

I bought this piece on eBay many years ago. I won it with just $5 over second place bidder. Whew! It was framed but I took a chance and, as it turned out, it was lightly attached to backboard and was in fabulous condition. I have removed, re-matted and it is now hanging in my tiny workspace at Clip File Headquarters, just around the corner from the Old Joke Cemetery somewhere in New York's scenic Greenwich Village. 'Nuff said.

Excelsior! Let's light up our pipes and have a look:
"What is art? Who knows?"
William Steig
The New Yorker, April 23, 1960, page 46
India ink, ink wash and correction fluid on watercolor paper
Image 7 ¼ x 6 1/2 inches, on a 9 ½ x 10 1/4-inch sheet
Scan by Dick Buchanan

Scan by Dick Buchanan

Scan by Dick Buchanan

Scan by Dick Buchanan

"What is art? Who knows?"
William Steig
The New Yorker, April 23, 1960, page 46

Scan by Dick Buchanan

This simple yet profound cartoon also appeared in The New Yorker Album of Art and Artists (1970), an old favorite. It occurs to me that The New Yorker doesn't publish nearly so many cartoons about art these days, let alone about the very definition of art. What a shame! Or has it all been said?
The New Yorker Album of Art and Artists (1970)

Note:  Today Dick Buchanan goes beyond his usual Cartoon Clip Files duty to present a superb work of William Steig original cartoon art. Did I say art? Why yes, I suppose I did. Dick contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a blockbuster post entitled "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Barney Tobey Gag Cartoons 1938 - 1966." Check it out for a generous helping of Tobey's non-New Yorker work. This is Dick's 59th contribution to Attempted Bloggery. Thanks for all you do, Dick!

By the way, contributions of original art by William Steig are always welcome here.

Now, class, what is art? Raise your hand if you know.

The Attempted Bloggery Centennial Posts

Blog Post No. 100
Blog Post No. 200:  A Shaggy Dog Story


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