Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rarely Seen James Thurber Drawings from The New Yorker Offices

One of the nice things about living in NYC and poking around places is that you find, every once in a while, a real lovely surprise worth shouting about.

Here on the 20th floor of the Conde Nast building in Times Square, as one walks from the New Yorker cartoon editor's office to the men's room, is such a surprise. I've been walking by it for years. Yesterday, I took some photos to share this month since it is, after all, Mr. Thurber's birthday month. (He was born December 8, 1894.)

Some James Thurber originals -- pencil on aging plaster. Rarely seen. Transported from the old New Yorker building on 43rd Street to the Conde Nast building.

From a descriptive paragraph posted by these originals:

"James Thurber and The New Yorker were made for each other. Soon after he joined the magazine in 1927, he was flooding its pages with casual essays, memoirs, fables and formless, insistently disarming drawings that bore his unique stamp and frame of mind.

"When he died in 1961, William Shawn, the magazine's editor, wrote of him: 'His work was largely unclassifiable (it was simply Thurber) and by the end it gave him a place in history as one of the great comic artists and one of the great American humorists.... . His tremendously original point of view, his literary style, his peculiar kind of vision and restlessness all went into the magazine and became part of its tradition.'

"The drawings preserved here were pencilled on an office wall in the 1930s -- an extempore mural that includes come sinuous football players, a couple of his amiable, flop-eared hounds, a mysterious dozing figure in a chair, and, on the right, the artist himself: Thurber to the life."


Mark Anderson said...

Man, you post the coolest stuff. No wonder everybody, OK, well MOST of the Wisen-folk love you!

Caroline said...

That right there is a man I'd like to have to a party (fyi: I believe Thurber died in 1961)
-Caroline Dworin