Friday, June 2, 2023

Park Avenue Plantings: Anatol Kovarsky Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

Anotol Kovarsky's elevated view looking south on Park Avenue shows the spring plantings on the median surrounded by pedestrian and automotive traffic. The design was proposed as a New Yorker cover circa 1960 but, for whatever reason, not accepted by the magazine. The original art is currently offered for sale by Honey & Wax Booksellers of Brooklyn for $3,600.

Rough sketch on verso

Anatol Kovarsky
Honey & Wax Booksellers listing accessed June 1, 2023


Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Third Avenue El: Anatol Kovarsky Proposed New Yorker Cover Art

Service on the IRT Third Avenue Elevated line was cut back  starting in 1950 and the Manhattan tracks were demolished by 1955. Anatol Kovarsky's vibrant cover proposal for The New Yorker shows the El where it passes over a crosstown street, possibly 23rd Street. The view is facing west after dark. Below the El, the image includes the city's bustle, the traffic, and the illuminated signs. The skyscrapers above the El stand majestically over the chaos. One can only speculate as to why the magazine wasn't interested. Perhaps, in 1950 or so when everyone knew the elevated tracks were slated for demolition, the editors wanted their cover art to be more forward-looking. The original art is available from Honey & Wax Booksellers priced at $3,600.

Detail of the Third Avenue El

Detail with the No. 15 bus heading east

Anatol Kovarsky
Honey & Wax Booksellers listing accessed May 31, 2023


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Notre-Dame de Paris with Tourists: Anatol Kovarsky Preliminary New Yorker Cover Art

Anatol Kovarsky's cover study for The New Yorker issue of August 17, 1966 was created in New York. It depicts the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris from a high angle while the finished cover art showed a different top-down view. The original art for the study is available from Honey & Wax Booksellers while the published cover art, we learn, resides in the Morgan Library.

Anatol Kovarsky
Preliminary art
The New Yorker,
 August 17, 1966

Detail of buses

Detail of gargoyles


Anatol Kovarsky
Preliminary art
The New Yorker,
 August 17, 1966

Anatol Kovarsky's signature

Anatol Kovarsky
Honey & Wax Booksellers listing accessed May 29, 2023

Anatol Kovarsky
Preliminary art
The New Yorker,
 August 17, 1966

Anatol Kovarsky
The New Yorker, August 17, 1966

The Morgan Library has not posted an online image of the original art and their issue date is off by a few days. "Title supplied by cataloger."
Anatol Kovarsky
The Morgan Library & Museum catalogue listing accessed May 31, 2023


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The CartoonStock Cartoon Caption Contest No. 167

In the CartoonStock Caption Contest #167, the jars do not contain pickles. To review the rules of the monthly cash prize contest: Five bucks buys no more than three entries. Real cash prizes are $500 for first place and $100 for each of five runners up. As of this writing, I've put $60 into the first dozen pay-to-play contests and this one brings my cash outlay up to $65. I was lucky enough to win $200 along the way but as some very talented caption writers play I don't expect to be able to keep it up. My three new entries are shown below, above the break. Below the break are my also-rans. The drawing of the closet you don't want to be in is by Amy Kurzweil.

"What can I get you, Sybil?"
"It all began with stamp collecting."
"Give me a minute to put myself together."
* * *
"Trust me, I have plenty in the way of brains."
"He loves me for my brains."
"There's been a local brain drain."
"I try to be more mindful."
"You've got to own those bad memories."
"Any thoughts?"


Monday, May 29, 2023

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #851

I completely lost my way in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #851 from the issue of May 29, 2023. My caption, in iambic pentameter, is shown below. The drawing is by Kaamran Hafeez.

"It seems you're not the subject after all."

These captions didn't meet scientific rigor:

"Could you at least give me a hint?"
"There have been some unforeseen developments."
"I'd like to leave the study."
"Which way to the bathroom?"
"Well, did you bring a stopwatch?"
"This was not my original hypothesis."
"Apparently, they've changed the study protocol."
"I've been demoted."
"When did YOU take over the study?"
"What happened to all the paintings?"
"NOW do you think I have empathy?"


Sunday, May 28, 2023

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for Spring 2023

Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest for the Winter 2023 issue has an observant Jewish genie in a bottle. My captions are shown below. The first is just a throwaway. I feel the second is the best of these. The entry below the divider was not submitted because I didn't like it as much as the others. The drawing of the Aladdin story is by Benjamin Schwartz.

"I can't make anyone fall in love or win a caption contest."
"You never had a mensch like me."
"Don't wish for anything you'll have to atone for."
"Actually, you get just one wish. We don't go with a Trinity."
* * *
"I'm afraid we genies don't know from Bitcoin."


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Charles Addams Authenticates Charles Addams

Where does one go to authenticate a sketch of Wednesday by cartoonist Charles Addams? Today, that might not be so easy to answer. But in 1981 when Addams was alive, why not just go right to the source? That's what autograph collector A. Lovell Elliott did. He sent a photocopy of a purported Addams sketch on a 3x5 index card to Addams at his New Yorker office. Addams, fine fellow that he was, sent Elliott his answer—in the affirmative.

I'm assuming this is the handwriting of A. Lovell Elliott.

Charles Addams
eBay listing ended April 19, 2023

Charles Addams
eBay item description

Charles Addams
eBay bid history
Over three days, two bidders place three bids and the price rises by $10. The last bid wins it.

Note:  Has anyone seen anything else remotely like this? Do tell.


Friday, May 26, 2023

Richard Oldden: Venus on the Half-Shell

For the past month, an eBay seller tried to sell a work of original Playboy cartoon art by Richard Oldden that was published in the issue of March 1991. The drawing, of course, is a modern twist on Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
Richard Oldden
Original art
Playboy, March 1991, p. 154

Richard Oldden
Original art
Playboy, March 1991, p. 154

Playboy stamps

Richard Oldden's signature

Detail of Venus

At a 1993 auction, Oldden assigned this original Playboy cartoon a "Retail Value" of $500. The eBay seller started the bidding at $300, and did not disclose the actual 1993 sale price.
"Retail Value $500"

Tear sheet

Richard Oldden
eBay listing ended May 21, 2023

Richard Oldden
eBay item description

At $300, history repeated itself, although a best offer option was added to the most recent listing:

Richard Oldden
Original art
Playboy, March 1991, p. 154

Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus (c. 1484–1486)
Tempera on canvas
172.5 cm × 278.9 cm (67.9 in × 109.6 in)
Uffizi, Florence