Looking at Illustration: Arthur Getz – April 1957

I’ve been flipping through more Arthur Getz cover art from The New Yorker and came upon this beauty from 1957. Let’s take a look.

Art by Arthur Getz. Prints available through https://condenaststore.com/art/arthur+getz

Mr. Getz was an expert at capturing small moments of New York City’s outdoor culture, and what is more ubiquitous in NYC culture than the sight of heavy construction parading right under the nose – or just over the heads – of the citizens? This scene of the renovation of a brownstone is as busy with textures and colors as a paisley tie, but hangs together beautifully thanks to his composition and palette.

The first thing I notice in Getz’s composition is how he directs your eye. Your view naturally starts at the upper left where there are sunlit construction workers and juicy detail in the nearest brownstone’s lovely oriel window. From the top left your eye slides down the chute and the wood planks, past the palisade of old doors to the dump truck; you inevitably climb the intricate façade of the buildings to the right of the truck, up and up to the hazily blank sky, where you can’t help but land with a thud on the bulls-eye of the whole scene, the wrecking ball. It’s a superb construction, sweeping your eye all around the view.

In landscape painting there is a general rule that warm colors advance and cool colors recede. This scene adheres to the rule with great success, with the warm brownstone tones closest to us, the middle ground scene of doors and rubble painted in slightly cooler shades, and the background sky and skyscrapers in the coolest, grayest tones – even that yellow apartment building is about as chilled a yellow as you can get in paint. I love how the artist ties together the scene by splashing periwinkle blue here and there – on a couple of the doors, under the scaffold, the brownstone handrail, the debris chute, one plane of the roof gable, and even high up on the top balconies of that yellow building. Getz’s loose but masterful treatment of the brownstone’s architecture is so admirable too, from the carvings and rustications in the massive sandstone shapes to his seemingly casual squiggles indicating the elegant wrought iron balustrade of the staircase.

Finally let’s point out Mr. Getz’s effective use of angles to make this scene dynamic and yet balanced. There are a number of strong diagonals echoing through this composition, that drive from the upper left to lower right, as I’ve indicated here:

They are formed by weighty, dark masses within the picture and give it a dynamic leftward and downward push. The scene does not ‘fall over’ from all that thrust though, because Getz brilliantly balanced all those forces against one thin, gangly yet very important element: the crane arm holding the wrecking ball. Its push is from lower left to upper right, and because it is a dark structure against the lightest part of the picture, and is more finely detailed than all the dark chunky shapes, and it holds that formidable feature of the portentous wrecking ball, it balances all that leftward thrust and makes the scene satisfyingly stable.

Arthur Getz created a stunning snapshot of NYC life here, marrying its iconic brownstone architecture with the careless jetsam of city construction zones. I would call this one of his best works ever for The New Yorker.

I wrote another cover review which you can read HERE. To see other New Yorker covers by Getz go HERE .

— Pat Achilles

Last Chance to Bid on Original New Yorker Cartoon Art

Today (June 4) is the last day of the Cantus Novus auction, and bids are being taken until midnight tonight. Have you taken a look at the items, trips and event tickets HERE?

Cantus Novus is a 40-voice choir that performs beautiful choral music in two annual concerts in the Bucks County area. I’ve donated my original art of a recent New Yorker cartoon, “Student-Teacher Conference,” which appeared in the May 10, 2021 issue of the New Yorker. I drew this cartoon by hand in prisma pencil and ink wash on illustration board, and on the back of the 13″ x13″ frame I’ve attached the printed page of the cartoon from the New Yorker in a plastic sleeve.

I think the topic of the gag cartoon would give a laugh to any teacher, principal or school staff member who receives it as a gift, so consider those end-of-the-year gifts for outstanding teachers!

If you are interested in owning an original drawing that was published in the New Yorker, you can easily register to place a bid. My cartoon is listed HERE and all proceeds go to help fund the extraordinary music created by Cantus Novus.

My Cartoon on ‘Ink Spill’

New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin writes interesting and wide-ranging articles all about the cartoonists past and present of that iconic magazine on his blog Ink Spill. I wrote a bit about Ink Spill on a previous post here.

Michael is currently running a feature on his blog, ‘Cartoons in the Time of Coronavirus,’ and he has kindly posted my drawing of last week. If you need a chuckle during these trying times or are a fan of the art of the New Yorker as I have always been, please take a look. Also note the link in the left column of the blog page, “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” which lists every single cartoonist ever in the magazine and has bios of all the greats.

Many thanks to Michael, for this awesome compendium of the wit and urbanity of the New Yorker – again, I invite you all to check it out here.

On the New Yorker site

As promised yesterday, if you click HERE you can see my “Daily” Cartoon on the New Yorker website.

We have family coming here for dinner today – so much to be thankful for! Here’s another seasonal cartoon of mine below, drawn for a business greeting card – wishing everyone a warm and happy Thanksgiving!

(c) Pat Achilles

My New Yorker ‘Daily’ Cartoon

Update: HERE is the link to today’s cartoon – take a look!

In addition to the New Yorker’s weekly (yes, weekly) print magazine, in circulation since 1925, the iconic publication also posts a Daily Cartoon on the homepage of its website, https://www.newyorker.com/ under the heading The Latest.

I’m thrilled that a gag of mine was chosen to be the Daily Cartoon for tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2019. I apologize that I can’t post it until it’s live – but as soon as it pops up I’ll put a link here. I wrote about my other New Yorker cartoons here and here.

In the mean time, I’ll share this cartoon from my archives, which has been pretty popular with singers and choir directors. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

My NYC Rockefeller Tree Christmas Card

It’s not too early to think about the holidays – I’m already working on three clients’ holiday cards for their businesses

Because of this, I’ve recently added a Christmas card to my listings on Etsy – one I drew last year for my family, in the classic New Yorker black & white style, not long after my first cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. If you’ve ever seen this iconic tree you never forget its overwhelming presence!

I drew this cartoon in black prisma pencil and painted it in ink washes. (Closeups of the art are on my Etsy page) It shows the legendary tree at Rockefeller Center, which about 100 million people visit each year, teeming with lights but with one small dark area; a small child looking up comments, “They missed a spot.”

Inside the card is the message “May your Christmas be filled with Peace and Joy and a thousand twinkling lights!”

Single cards are available on my Etsy shop HERE and boxes of 8 cards are available on my website store HERE.If you’d like more than 8 cards, or would like to use this card for your company holiday card, email me and we’ll work out the details. And if you live near me in the Central Bucks area and want to avoid postage charges, simply email me what you’d like to order and you can pay when you pick up the cards from me.

My Second Cartoon in the New Yorker Magazine

I’m very pleased to say, my second cartoon is being published this week by the New Yorker, for their legendary Caption Contest! At the moment it is online, but my cartoon will be published in the June 10 issue, on the last page inside the magazine. You can see it now right HERE.

Anyone can submit a caption for this contest, so please go ahead and enter! The directions for submitting are linked on the Contest page.

As I wrote when my first cartoon was published, the New Yorker loomed large in my wonderful relationship with my father, who was also a cartoonist, and who always encouraged me in my art. He grew up during the Depression in Allentown, PA, a second-generation American, and saw the New Yorker as the embodiment of the wit, sophistication and insight of the country’s best writers and illustrators. I just know he is doing a little dance up in Heaven now.

I can’t let this post go by without including a cartoon, so here’s one I drew when my Dad was alive, using one of his captions.

My Cartoon Published

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UPDATE: My cartoons for the New Yorker can be seen here: https://condenaststore.com/art/pat+achilles

I am thrilled to announce that a cartoon I drew and submitted to the prestigious New Yorker magazine back in March has been published in this week’s issue, October 1, 2018.

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a21844

“Sir, we’re getting ready to land–I’m going to need you to slide that under your seat.”

I started reading and chuckling at New Yorker cartoons in high school when my dad introduced its unparalleled humor to me. He and I shared many hours discussing our favorite gags and cartoonists, and, while Dad did land a great cartoon one time in The Saturday Evening Post, he never made it into Eustace Tilley’s grand library. He hoped someday I would. Dad passed away 8 years ago but I have the uncanny feeling he’s been pulling some strings.