Thomas Nast, Tammany Tiger (circa 1870)
This is from the Addison Gallery collection of drawings, and though we did not see it yesterday, I’m thrilled to have even a reproduction of it in the collection On Paper. (I can’t find any reproduction of it on the Interwebs.)
Nash’s brilliance is that he takes an otherwise un-humanized tiger and puts it in a human position: rolling on its back, arms folded across chest, legs kicking in the air and either roaring or laughing, doesn’t matter. The instant you see it’s called Tammany Tiger you understand it’s a caricature of a cruel, greedy, bestial human (Boss Tweed) given none of the dignity of being a person.
(Well, I should add, not a portrait of Tweed per se — he was a fat lump as uncatlike as could be imagined — but his corrupt organization.)
Only about three of the entries in the pro-pot cartoon book I bought in Rome (at the museum of contemporary art) make sense if you can’t read Italian —
— but it was only 1 Euro.
Revered British cartoonist. I’m not nearly as familiar with his work as I should be, but my favorite of his creations are the various head-and-one-foot monsters like this one:
There used to be regular modernization of wit in the New Yorker such as the one Jack Ziegler worked out after a couple-three years in the mag. But after him the most noteworthy development is Roz Chast going into full bloom. And indeed, Chast’s memorial pinpoints a key quality: Ziegler updated Thurber’s flair for the absurd.