Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Mischa Richter: Three Word-Based Illustrations

Of a group of three original word-based illustrations by cartoonist Mischa Richter, at least two of them refer to political events of the mid-1970s. The energy crisis was an issue throughout the 1970s, but the Arab oil embargo specifically took place from October 1973 to March 1974. Depicting the words energy crisis as a question mark might place the illustration in that uncertain time after the oil embargo ended. Nelson Rockefeller served as Gerald Ford's Vice President from December 1974 to January 1977. The "Now Playing" theater marquee would most likely date this trio of illustrations to the earlier part of Rockefeller's Vice Presidency. But why give the VP top billing? The stork with the letter O could serve as the opening letter to some text, or it could represent something else entirely. 

Mischa Richter
eBay listing ended June 14, 2021

Mischa Richter
eBay item description

Mischa Richter
eBay bid history
A single bid in the last ten minutes

Note:  Where then might these have been published? If you recognize them, do tell.


Monday, May 30, 2022

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #804

Here's the lowdown on my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #804 from the issue of May 30, 2022. My pet-friendly caption is shown below. The drawing is by P. C. Vey.

"Also, I think it's time to rebalance your portfolio."

These captions couldn't stand on their own two feet:
"What pyramid scheme?"
"Now that we have your attention..."
"Is it too much to ask for some attention?"
"May we join you?"
"We grovel at your feet."
"They've elected me spokesman."
"At the time, it seemed like a good idea."
"May I offer you some support?"

June 11, 2022 Update:  The Finalists

June 18, 2022 Update:
  I voted for the caption from Saint John.

June 22, 2022 Update:
  The Winner 


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Edward Koren: For the Community Preparatory School

A sheet of original sketches by cartoonist Edward Koren was donated by the artist to the Community Preparatory School in Providence circa the late 1990s. It turned up on eBay six months ago where it sold for $100.99 plus shipping.

Edward Koren's signature

Edward Koren
eBay listing ended November 25, 2021

Edward Koren
eBay item description

Edward Koren
eBay bid history
The last-minute bid wins it.

Note:  Scans and photographs of original sketches by Edward Koren are always welcome here on the blog. No creature is too furry.


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Edward Koren: Creature Sketches, January 1984

Michael Maslin: ...The first thing I thought to ask you when I was researching — I didn’t see it addressed out there anywhere — was: is there a story to how your “beasts” came about. Do you call them beasts?

Edward Koren: I don’t know what to call them. They’re alter egos I guess. “Beasts” is shorthand because they look beastly. Like Sendak’s [characters], they’re living in my brain. They’re kind of all me.

On Thursday, Michael Maslin posted a comprehensive interview with cartoonist Edward Koren to mark the 60th anniversary of Koren's work first appearing in The New Yorker. (You can read it by clicking the aqua link, above.) I put my own uninspired title on this post a while back before the interview was available, enjoying the alliteration of Koren and creatures, while taking pride in my resolve not to get all cutesy and spell it kreatures. I very nearly succeeded.

Here then is one sheet of Koren's alter egos or beasts or maybe even creatures, dated January 1984. It is archived from an eBay sale this past January in which the seller referred to them as monsters:

Edward Koren
eBay listing ended January 28, 2022

Edward Koren
eBay item description

Note:  By now cartoonist Edward Koren has produced countless original drawings like this one. Many are in private hands and rarely or never seen publicly. I am happy to offer my services to give such closely-held rarities a wider circulation. Just send along scans or photographs.


Friday, May 27, 2022

William Steig: Four Harlequins

No doubt there's a story or two behind William Steig's four small harlequin drawings, hand-titled "Figures" on the backing of the frame. By the 1950s, Steig had fallen under the influence of Picasso and came to draw with an expressive looseness not present in his earlier work from the 1930s and 1940s. Picasso's harlequin images could certainly have inspired the subject matter of these figures as well. For what purpose they were created and wether or not they were published is, for now, a mystery. Over time, they suffered indignities from exposure to light and an apparently acidic matte. There is bound to be a story too about how the originals went from the possession of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. S. Sweet of Mount Carmel to an auction house in Berlin. They were put on the block this week with an estimate of 360 Euros ($387) and an opening bid of 240 Euros ($258). The lot went unsold.

William Steig
Nosbüsch & Stucke GmbH listing accessed May 1, 2022

Note:  Those aware of the publication history, if any, of these drawings should feel free to chime in.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

William Steig: The Time Reader

The Time Reader as Seen by William Steig was apparently created for a Young & Rubicam Time magazine ad campaign aimed at procuring and encouraging more advertising. The ad may not have run in Time itself, but possibly in an advertising industry trade journal. The Time reader, who is distinctly depicted as white and male, is described as a college man, traveler, community leader, good provider, and a decision maker. As a news magazine, Time could be enjoyed by the whole family and by all families, but it is only the white male reader who is actively being promoted by Y&R to the advertising community back in, apparently, the 1950s. The framed original artwork sold last week in Providence for $100, the minimum bid.

William Steig
Vallot Auctioneers listing accessed May 1, 2022

Note:  No harm would come to anyone revealing to me the date and place of publication. Probably.