Saturday, July 31, 2021

Reeling, Signed by Pauline Kael

For those who may have never seen a signed copy of her work, here is favorite film critic Pauline Kael's Reeling (1976) autographed by the author. Kael's influential work appeared in The New Yorker from 1967 to 1991 and was invariably collected in book form. These photos are fresh from a recently-completed listing on eBay. 











Pauline Kael
eBay listing ended July 29, 2021

Pauline Kael
eBay item description

Pauline Kael
eBay bid history
The last bidder gets it...again





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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Charles Saxon 9 X for The New York Times

In 1961, a portfolio of nine cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Charles Saxon was given to booksellers as a promotion for the New York Times Book Review. The photos, taken by an eBay seller, don't show all the cartoons and crop out parts of some captions, but they're still worth a look.

9 X Saxon

"Mrs. Hartung asks that questions be restricted to
non-recent books. She wishes to avoid saying anything
that might adversely affect any work in current release."

"Mrs. Hartung asks that questions be restricted to
non-recent books. She wishes to avoid saying anything
that might adversely affect any work in current release."

"This isn't one of those non-books, is it?"

"All I know about her is that I keep seeing in
acknowledgments that she helps make books possible."

"I wonder if you could suggest something to wean me
away from Jack Paar."

"This just kills me. A note to myself to read
'To The Lighthouse' by Virginia Woolf, and I
can't remember why!"

"This isn't one of those non-books, is it?"

Charles Saxon
eBay listing ended July 8, 2021


Charles Saxon
eBay item Description







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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Helen E. Hokinson: Atlas China Plates

Four vintage cartoon plates by Helen E. Hokinson from Atlas China appear to be in good used condition. They were sold on eBay for the very low price of $2.50, but with a shipping charge of $12.80.







Helen E. Hokinson
eBay listing ended June 29, 2021

Helen E. Hokinson
eBay item description

Helen E. Hokinson
eBay bid history
No need to bid early.







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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Blog Post No. 3700: Peter Arno's Changing Points of VIew

Four years ago, when I surveyed the original Peter Arno artwork that came from the estate of New Yorker cartoonist Frank Modell, I was unable to say much about one of the gag cartoons because it came to the market lacking its caption:

Recently I came across Arno's cartoon of April 30, 1932 on the blog A New Yorker State of Mind and then everything fell into place. Modell had been holding onto preliminary art for a New Yorker gag that Arno totally reworked before publication:
"Trapshooting? I thought you said crapshooting!"
Peter Arno
The New Yorker, April 30, 1932, page 14




I doubt we'll learn whether Modell himself knew exactly what he had here, or even whether he knew the intended caption. The composition of the preliminary art has much going for it, particularly that the shooting party is seen head on, and not from the rear. Yet Arno felt compelled to rework the entire composition. Why expend so much effort on this "turnaround," as his biographer Michael Maslin called it when I brought these drawings to his attention? Is this sort of wordplay worth all the effort?

I'm not sure I have the answer. The preliminary art definitely shows the driver nervously realizing his error when the entire party is just heading out, while the published version stages the critical moment when the shooters are—possibly—in the act of arriving at some gambling venue. The suggestion that they may be about to enter the wrong place might give the driver's mistake more immediacy and make it funnier, whatever one's opinion of this brand of wordplay. But is that truly what's going on? In the finished art, Arno has also softened the exaggerated, cartoonish reaction of the driver into something slightly more understated.

All cartoonists, of course, are obliged to make some changes to their compositions, but in my ten years of chronicling the cartoon art form here, I have yet to come across anyone with Arno's facility for reimagining his drawings from other points of view. Two examples from the blog archives are worth bringing up again in this regard. Also from Modell's collection is a rough of an Arno gag from 1930:
"Now stop and think a minute—did I bite you?"
Peter Arno
Preliminary art
 The New Yorker, July 5, 1930


It's all right, but Arno certainly wasn't satisfied with it. For his final version of the gag, he lowers the vantage point to the ground and gives us a more dramatic view, the view of spectators looking up at a prize fight. Now we are down at the eye level of the attacking dog. We are so low we can look up into the inside of the awning above. In the rough version, the top hat of the man entering the lobby rises over the other figures, but in the published version it is merely at shoulder level and thereby less significant. Furthermore, Arno draws as if through a wide angle lens here; one wonders whether his camera aided him in such adept compositional transformations. From here, it is just a matter of adding some dramatic lighting and of rendering the belligerent man more solidly from behind and in a more threatening, angular pose. 
"Now stop and think a minute—did I bite you?"
Peter Arno
The New Yorker, July 5, 1930, page 14



Here's one more example, a different kind of "turnaround." In the preliminary version of his cartoon, Arno's reluctant scoutmaster is too awkward by half. 
"You're making a great mistake, Miss Loesch. We scoutmasters
are not entrusted with military secrets."
Peter Arno
Preliminary art
The New Yorker, July 27, 1940, page 18


The final image "reads" better from left to right. The scoutmaster's legs are now at least both doing the same thing; he is still awkward, but less so, as he fails to take advantage of his opportunity. Perhaps the scoutmaster wasn't prepared.
"You're making a grave mistake, Miss Loesch. We scoutmasters
are not entrusted with military secrets."
Peter Arno
The New Yorker, July 27, 1940, page 18






Cartoon by Peter Arno and a spot drawing by an unknown artist


Cartoon by Peter Arno and a spot drawing, apparently by Helen E. Hokinson


Cartoon by Peter Arno and an illustration by Ludwig Bemelmans



Note:  There are doubtless many cartoonists who are capable of changing point of view on the journey between rough and finish, but I haven't found too many who handle it as fluently as Peter Arno. Readers with further examples of changing perspectives by Arno or indeed by other New Yorker cartoonists are encouraged to submit them here.

I am grateful to A New Yorker State of Mind for giving Arno's trapshooters such a high profile here.

I am grateful as well to Michael Maslin, the author of Peter Arno:  The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist. Numerous copies are available online, so don't ask to borrow mine. And if you aren't reading his blog Ink Spill, then you just don't know everything going on in the world of New Yorker cartoonists.

My post about Frank Modell's original Arno art may be seen here. For what it's worth, I consider it my best effort

The original scoutmaster post may be found here. For pity's sake, don't let this happen to you.


The Attempted Bloggery Centennial Posts
 💯

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




Artist unknown



Helen E. Hokinson



Ludwig Bemelmans












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Monday, July 26, 2021

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #764

It's quite a climb to The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #764 from the issue of July 26, 2021. This time my caption, shown below, came to me on the last day of the contest. The drawing is by P. C. Vey.

"Just don't make waves."






August 8, 2021 Update:  The Finalists







August 10, 2021 Update:  I voted knowingly for the caption from Indianapolis.


August 17, 2021 Update:
  The Winner






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