Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest"

Satirical artworks have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Cave dwellers many millennia ago probably indulged in snarky drawings as well. From a show of prints currently running at the Metropolitan Museum (Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine), here are a few selections skewering all manner of pomposity, ridiculing fashion, expressing outrage at politicians, or just exaggerating various aspects of the species homo sapiens.

Finally, here's "Americans in Paris" from 1951 by Al Hirschfeld. Patrons at the Café de la Paix include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Sugar Ray Robinson, Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Hirschfeld himself with his wife (actress Dolly Haas, in sunglasses) and their daughter Nina (whose name is embedded in most of his theater caricatures). Can you identify anyone else?
Here are several detailed views:

For a wealth of cartoons and drawings that display a witty and compassionate view of humanity amidst their foibles, I can't say enough good things about our career retrospective of William Steig. This is a book to treasure.

1 comment:

  1. The first image is hilarious, seems like something Louis Carroll would conjure up.