Today’s art is a cartoon by Barbara Shermund, who contributed regularly to the New York, Esquire and other high profile magazines. In fact, she did 597 cartoons that appeared inside the New Yorker and 8 covers, too. This unnamed cartoon was created in 1945, May 24 to be exact, and this is a color film copy transparency that’s housed at the Library of Congress, in the Prints and Photographs Division. It was published in the January 1946 issue of Esquire. A bunch of socialite types sit around listening to what appears to be a classical pianist. Who knows what the audience is drinking, if anything, but the pianist has a bottle of beer sitting on the edge of the piano, along with a glass full of beer.
Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum has the following short biography of Shermund.
Painter, illustrator, etcher, cartoonist. Born in San Francisco, CA on June 26, 1899. Shermund studied at the CSFA. As a contributor to the New Yorker and Esquire, she spent most of her career in NYC. She died in September 1978 in Monmouth County, NJ.
Born in San Francisco in 1899 to artistic parents (her father was an architect), Ms. Shermund studied at The California School of Fine Arts before heading east, at the age of twenty-six, to New York. She told Colliers that her initial visit east became permanent “after she had eaten up her return fare.” In June of that very year, she made her debut at the four month old New Yorker with a cover of a young woman sporting a hip hairdo, eyes closed, resting her arm over a railing, against a black sky peppered with stars. In a year’s time her cartoons, many if not most of which were written by her, were appearing in nearly every issue of the magazine.
And below is another drinking-related cartoon she did for the New Yorker in 1938.