Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Syd Hoff Salute

If Peter Arno was The New Yorker's quintessential elite Manhattan cartoonist, Syd Hoff was the cartoonist who best represented the working-class sensibilities of the Bronx. Back in the day, my own family members were New Yorkers born and bred in the Bronx, and so it's fitting that today Attempted Bloggery begins a long-overdue salute to the great Syd Hoff. But first let's have him give us a salute in an original drawing right out of the pages of a personally-inscribed copy of his 1944 collection Feeling No Pain. This is how a salute is done in the Bronx, at least without the Cheer.

Feeling No Pain, 1944
Inscribed "April 1945
Very best wishes
and greetings to
my good friends
the Tafts
Syd Hoff"

Syd Hoff
eBay Listing Ended November 10, 2015

Syd Hoff
eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History

Feeling No Pain, 1944
Inscribed "April 1945
Very best wishes
and greetings to
my good friends
the Tafts
Syd Hoff"

Note:  Be sure to catch up on your reading about Syd Hoff 
on the Syd Hoff website here website and on Ink Spill here.

Attempted Bloggery seeks scans or photos of original art by Syd Hoff as well as published rarities.

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Syd Hoff of the Bronx


Monday, January 15, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #600

Defy gravity with my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #600 for January 15, 2018. The drawing is by Drew Panckeri.

"Whose turn is it to take him for a spacewalk?"

Note:  Last week, cartoonist Michael Maslin's caveman cartoon had some bite to it, but my caption proved toothless. Travel way back in time to Contest #599.

Drew Panckeri is new to this blog. There's a first time for everything, Drew.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Carl Rose: Shake Well Before Using

In October we were treated to a single page of interesting book illustrations on various literary subjects by Carl Rose. At that time the identity of the book for which they were created was unknown. Now the owner of these illustrations has returned and provided us with no fewer than fourteen scans of the sheets each containing a grouping of illustrations. Happily, this more complete set allows us to identify the book they were created for as Shake Well Before Using, a collection of pieces classified as "Mostly Humorous" by Bennett Cerf published in 1948. The name of the book appears at the top of some of the chapter heading illustrations.

To recap the history from the previous blog post, these original illustrations were obtained at "an auction for the benefit of the Democratic Party in Norwalk, Connecticut in the late 1960’s. Mr. Rose, a resident of Rowayton, CT, and apparent party supporter, donated them for the auction." A few examples of printed illustrations from the book are here shown below the sheet on which the original drawings appear. The owner estimates that the pages shown here contain 79 of the approximately 108 illustrations which appear in the book.

Section 1:  "The Front Page"
Bennett Cerf, Shake Well Before Using, 1948, pages viii-1

Section 11: "Radio"
Bennett Cerf, Shake Well Before Using, 1948, pages 250-251

The book:
Shake Well Before Using (1948) by Bennett Cerf
Illustrated by Carl Rose

Shake Well Before Using (1948)
Title page
Shake Well Before Using (1948)
Image added January 15, 2018

  As always, Attempted Bloggery seeks to publicize original art by Carl Rose. Original book illustrations, cartoons, and other works are welcome.

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Carl Rose


Saturday, January 13, 2018

James Stevenson: Vanya in the Hamptons

Andrew Zerman has sent a photograph of original art from The New Yorker by James Stevenson. The drawing was a gift from Mr. Zerman's father, who purchased it at the Nicholls Gallery probably in the 1980s. Mr. Webster, the visitor, is distinguished by his striped shirt while the others are dressed more formally. He reclines while they are posed vertically. The front of Mr. Webster's face is bathed in sunlight and the perspective lines all point to him, reinforced by lines of the speaker's arm and leg and the bannister of the staircase. So the composition is sound, but the real trick of cartooning stagecraft is to make this assembly of figures who are isolated in the drama of their individual misery appear comic rather than tragic.

"I think it safe to say, Mr. Webster,
that we are the most Chekhovian
household in East Hampton."

James Stevenson
Original art
The New Yorker, August 22, 1977, page 42

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Zerman

Note:  My thanks to Andrew Zerman for providing Attempted Bloggery with this photograph of original New Yorker art.

Art by James Stevenson is always welcome here. Please send scans or photographs of original Stevenson works.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Richard Decker's Idea of a Self-Portrait

Cartoonist Richard Decker skirts the traditional idea of a self-portrait while showing us that his son Philip, age ten months, is already a budding art critic. This very antithesis of a self-portrait appeared in Life, circa 1934. There is even a Life cover design abandoned on the floor and the unframed canvas on the wall, quite possibly an earlier rendition of Philip.

Richard Decker, Life, c. 1934

Scan by Dick Buchanan

Richard Decker, Life, c. 1934

Scan by Dick Buchanan

Note:  My thanks to Dick Buchanan for providing Attempted Bloggery with these scans from the legendary Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files. Dick regularly contributes to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a post entitled, "From the Dick Buchanan Files: William Steig Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1965." What's not to like?

You don't hear too much about Richard Decker's work these days. Perhaps we can provide a remedy for this. Readers are encouraged to contribute scans or photos of original Decker art or of obscure published Decker cartoons.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

An Anatol Kovarsky Attention-Grabber

A photostat of an obscure cartoon by the great Anatol Kovarsky turned up on eBay this year. I ran it by the artist's daughter, who offered her comments:

I would date the cute cartoon of the photographer capturing the showgirl's attention with bling (the stat of which is attached in your email) as between 1947 and 1951. I'd never seen it before. The drawing retains some of dad's early more "grotesque" style particularly in the way the woman is depicted. The theme fits with other cartoons and cartoon sketches dad did when a photographer has devised a way to keep the subject engaged. I don’t think this one appeared in The New Yorker, unless it fell through the cracks when the magazine compiled its record. It could have been published elsewhere. My father contributed to other publications as well, including Collier's, Life, Look, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, and The Herald Tribune.

Anatol Kovarsky, Showgirl and Photographer, c. 1947-1951

Anatol Kovarsky's photostatted signature

Anatol Kovarsky
eBay Listing as of February 20, 2017

A different eBay listing from a different seller refers to this same cartoon as a "press photo" and dates it to 1948. This date is within the range estimated by the artist's daughter and, if correct, would mean the drawing is more likely from the earlier part of the four-year range she gave. The eBay image is a scan rather than a photo:
Anatol Kovarsky, Showgirl and Photographer, c. 1947-1951

Note:  I am grateful to Anatol Kovarsky's daughter for her insightful comments.

"Kovarsky's World: Covers and Cartoons from The New Yorker" is now on view at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan through March 3, 2018. The show is co-curated by John Lind and Gina Kovarsky with an appreciation by the one and only Mo Willems. There will be an opening reception tomorrow, January 12, from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. I'm sure many highly-regarded cartoonists will be there along with at least one notorious blogger who shall here remain unnamed.

Michael Maslin's blog Ink Spill is dedicated to news about New Yorker cartoonists. In recent weeks he has featured a veritable treasure trove of Kovarsky's unpublished work. Take it all in 

To that, add more unpublished Kovarsky work on Mike Lynch Cartoons, another fine cartoon blog published by another fine cartoonist whose name slips my mind at the moment. You can see the work here.

Surely at least some or possibly most of Kovarsky's work has been dispersed to the winds and is sitting happily in private collections around the globe. So carefully check out the frames hanging on the walls wherever you go. If you should happen to spot original artwork of his, you might want to send me an image or two for use on the blog. Nobody needs to know about it but us.

One more thing: if anyone can provide me with this obscure, photostatted drawing's publication history, I'd be deeply indebted. But not financially.

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Anatol Kovarsky

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Roz Chast at the Cornell Club

Yesterday I attended a reception at the Cornell Club in New York City. In the third floor library, I was delighted to find a copy of Roz Chast's Theories of Everything (2006) opened to the Charles Addams page where it was signed by Ms. Chast. The  piece recounts her childhood experiences in the browsing library at Cornell University, where her parents found "intellectualism" while she discovered the New Yorker cartoonists, particularly Charles Addams. The book was mounted on the library wall under glass in a room full of incandescent lights and was therefore ridiculously difficult to photograph. Of course, I could have avoided many of the reflections by turning out the lights in the library mid-reception, but there's only so much I'll do, even for my readers.

"When I was a kid, my parents and I used to escape the city and spend the summer up near Cornell University, in upstate New York."
Gift of
Laurey Mogil and Rob Hellman
Cornell Class of '76

Charles Addams by Roz Chast appeared in the first Cartoon Issue of The New Yorker before it was collected in Theories of Everything:

Charles Addams by Roz Chast
The New Yorker, December 15, 1997, pages 118-119

Note:  Your roving blogger seeks for scans or photographs of original works of art by Roz Chast.

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