Friday, September 15, 2017

Forty One Barking Dogs


Edward Gorey created many spot illustrations for TV Guide magazine. The wide ranging themes of these assignments challenged the versatility of Mr. Gorey's imagination and talent. Sports, Westerns, and the current (and upcoming) season's programming were all subjects which are not standard themes in Mr. Gorey's work, but which he illustrated with knowledge and humor.
The September 1982 of TV Guide features a spot illustration by Edward Gorey for an article about the filler programming needed in newly formed subscription channels like HBO and The Movie Channel (TCM).  And now, for your intermission pleasure...41 barking dogs! is an article that relates how an "anything goes" style of entertainment in short films is being embraced as filler between shows. In an effort to fill short amounts of time, subjects from quirky to the banal (or "stinkers" as the article states) are all welcomed. The film mentioned in the title is an animated short with 41 dogs barking.
Edward Gorey's artwork for TV Guide is almost always in color, and has a bold quality that is not generally associated with the style of his work. This boldness is a purposeful and direct result of the physical attributes of the magazine itself. Not much larger than a paperback book and cheaply printed, TV Guide was a weekly publication whose articles were short and by necessity, any illustration or photograph was reproduced at a very small size. Edward Gorey was usually adamant that he create original artwork at the size it was to be reproduced, but the pieces made for TV Guide are always drawn large with the intention that they will be greatly reduced and poorly printed. For 41 Dogs, the artwork is 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" and was reproduced at 2 1/2" x 3" (this size is noted in pencil on the artwork). Working at a larger size, Mr. Gorey was free to create poster style images that grab the fleeting attention of the reader.






Thursday, August 31, 2017

New York City Ballet Buttons


 Edward Gorey created many designs for the New York City Ballet to be used on merchandise and for fundraising. I have identified seven designs for pinback buttons, each featuring a ballerina in various costumes. the first button shows the ballerina in warm up or rehearsal clothing. The others are dancing in full costume. Two buttons feature color in their costumes.


According to Gorey bibliographer Edward Bradford, the following button was also available with a chain so it could be worn as a pendant necklace.


 The next two buttons are internet images and are not in my collection.


A final button shows an energetic Gorey Cat in toe shoes against a vivid yellow background dancing the Kitty Ballet. Edward Gorey created several images for the Kitty Ballet.
The Kitty Ballet also had a second button design where the kitty has a "come hither" attitude and pink toe shoes. The button pictured is not in my collection.
One final design is not specifically identified as a New York City Ballet button within the image, but appears to be part of the series. It features a bat and a ballerina. This is an internet image and the button is not in my collection.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Edward Gorey House Envelope Contest


The Edward Gorey house is now accepting entries for its annual Halloween Envelope Art Contest. Now in its 4th year, the contest is open to artists and enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Contest rules, the entry form (which must accompany the submission), and images of past winners can be found here: Envelope Contest

The deadline for entries to be received by mail is Friday October 27, 2017.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Glen Baxter



Glen Baxter is an artist who was born in Leeds, UK in 1944. Mr. Baxter primarily creates single panel absurdist cartoon panels that are available as collected works in many books. Original artwork is available from several Fine Art Galleries in the United States, England, and France. Mr. Baxter's work often features literary, domestic, and artistic themes combined in unlikely ways with typical British characters. Another favorite theme is the American West, where cowboys interact in unexpected ways with literature and modern art.

Unlike Edward Gorey who created artwork at the size it was intended to be published, Mr. Baxter's prefers to work in a Fine Art sensibility and his pieces range in size from 10" x 15" to massive 41" x 60" pieces. He works in pen & ink and also creates color pieces in pastel and crayon which give them a distinctive look. A number of images have been available as signed, limited edition prints.

Mr. Baxter's first solo art exhibition was held at the Gotham Book Mart in 1974. Edward Gorey attended the opening and was the first person to purchase Mr. Baxter's original artwork. Mr. Gorey acquired several originals at the GBM show and these remained in his personal art collection for the rest of his life. I have seen a lovely photograph of the two artists enjoying drinks and a laugh together at the opening.

At the time of the exhibition in 1974, Gotham Book Mart published Mr. Baxter's Fruits of the World in Danger. Fruits of the World was printed in a unnumbered limited edition of 300 staple bound copies in wrappers. The slim volume shows various fruits in situations that can only lead to disaster. It has been suggested that Fruits of the World inspired Edward Gorey's Menaced Objects, Dogear Wryde Postcards which was published in 1989.


Glen Baxter has published more than 20 books, and many are in print. The most recent volume is Almost Completely Baxter, New and Selected Blurtings . Published in 2016, this book includes black & white and color works.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Martin Landau


Actor Martin Landau died this past weekend at age 89. Mr. Landau played many roles over his long career including the title character in the 1985/85 national tour of the stage revival of Dracula. The tour featured the sets and costumes by Edward Gorey, and I was pleased to attend both performances of the play when it stopped at the Ordway Theater, St. Paul, MN in February 1985. Ten years later, Mr. Landau would once again inhabit the signature cape, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Wood. An article about the casting of Landau in the 1984 theatrical revival can be read HERE.




Monday, July 10, 2017

Gorey Stories Caricature



Over the years Edward Gorey adapted his books into "an entertainment with music" several times with mixed success. Gorey Stories was the short lived Broadway production which opened and closed on October 30, 1978. The show was later retooled as Tinned Lettuce (NYU student production 1983), Amphigorey (Off Broadway 1994), and The Gorey Details (Off Broadway 2000).

Some of the original artwork used for set and program designs from the later production has appeared at auction in recent years. Mr. Gorey's original artwork for the Playbill cover for Gorey Stories was sold at Swann Auction Galleries in January 2016. An interesting piece of original artwork by caricaturist Sam Norkin related to Gorey Stories recently surfaced.
Mr. Norkin (1917 - 2011) was a New York born cartoonist who spent his long career producing caricatures for newspaper theatrical reviews. Known as "The Other Hirshfeld", Mr. Norkin's drawings graced the pages of the New York Herald Tribune from 1940 - 1956, after which he worked primarily for the New York Daily News. Mr. Norkin also wrote for newspapers as a theatrical reviewer.

Mr. Norkin created artwork to illustrate reviews for shows playing on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for out of town try-outs. His body of work has recently been offered over the course of several auctions and the shows represent a full spectrum of New York plays and musicals. One piece that caught my eye was created for Gorey Stories. I have acquired the piece, but as yet have not been able to ascertain if it actually appeared alongside a newspaper review. Several reviews of the show did appear in various New York papers, but so far I have only seen photographic illustrations accompanying them.




Sunday, July 2, 2017