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Exhibitions | Past

On the Money: Cartoons for The New Yorker From the Melvin R. Seiden Collection
January 23 through May 24, 2009

Farris image
Joseph Farris
A very special interest to see you, Senator.
Pen and black ink, gray wash, with touches of white gouache
Signed in black ink at lower right, Joseph Farris.
Published 28 June, 1993
Melvin R. Seiden Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum
Photography by Joseph Zehavi, 2008.
© The New Yorker Collection 1993 Joseph Farris from
All Rights Reserved.

Celebrating the art of the cartoonist, On the Money: Cartoons for The New Yorker features approximately eighty original drawings by some of The New Yorker's most talented and beloved artists who have tackled the theme of money and the many ways in which it defines us. Included in the show are drawings by such luminaries as Charles Barsotti, George Booth, Dana Fradon, Lee Lorenz, William Hamilton, and J. B. Handelsman. The exhibition is on view only at the Morgan.

The works are drawn entirely from the collection of Melvin R. Seiden, a long-time supporter of the Morgan, who has assembled one of the largest and most representative private selections of this art form, which spans the history of The New Yorker. The Seiden collection of New Yorker cartoons, numbering nearly 1,500 sheets, complements the Morgan's holdings in the history of satire and humor, which range from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Following the great cartoonists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—including James Gillray, H. K. Browne a.k.a. Phiz, and Honoré Daumier, in whose works the Morgan's collection is particularly rich—the artists represented in this exhibition continue the thread of chronicling contemporary attitudes.

Since 1925 The New Yorker magazine has served as the leading forum for American cartoonists to reflect and comment on the nation's social and cultural environment. Their work provides amusement and constitutes a mirror of social conventions that remain relevant. The drawings in On the Money include a selection of works from the magazine's early years, as well as contributions from cartoonists working during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, when financial issues were among the dominant themes of many cartoons. Subjects such as politics, sex, inheritance, and real estate demonstrate the impact of money on individual lives, while the shared experience of recessions and booms provides inspiration for broader treatments of the theme. Finding humor in money and the economy has been a mainstay of New Yorker artists, and the cartoons continue to engage viewers.

The artistry of the works reveals the eloquent and efficient draftsmanship essential to a successful cartoon, as well as the artists' process of creating and revising an incisive, humorous vignette. The exhibition also delineates the critical role of the cartoon editor, whose work is essential to the reader's enjoyment. A selection of cartoons that were improved by editorial recommendations is accompanied by equally amusing correspondence between editor and artist about achieving the perfect union between word and image. Also featured in the exhibition are photographic portraits by Anne Hall of many of the artists behind the cartoons.

Drawings by the following artists are included in the exhibition: Ed Arno; Perry Barlow (1892–1977); Charles Barsotti; George Booth; Roz Chast; Tom Cheney; Richard Cline; Frank Cotham; Leo Cullum; Whitney Darrow Jr. (1909–1999); Joseph Farris; Ed Fisher; Dana Fradon; William Hamilton; J. B. Handelsman (1922–2007); Helen E. Hokinson (1893–1949); Stan Hunt (1929–2006); Lee Lorenz; Michael Maslin; Joe Mirachi (1920–1991); W.B. Park; George Price (1902–1995); Donald Reilly (1933–2006); Mischa Richter (1910–2001); Carl Rose; Bernard Schoenbaum; Peter Steiner; Mick Stevens; James Stevenson; Mike Twohy; Robert Weber; Gluyas Williams (1888–1982); and Jack Ziegler.

The exhibition is organized by Jennifer Tonkovich, Curator, Drawings and Prints, The Morgan Library & Museum.

This exhibition is sponsored by CastleRock Asset Management.

Additional support is generously provided by Liz and Rod Berens and Richard and Ronay Menschel.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.