Summer in the City

The July 1927 issues of the New Yorker were filled with news of yacht races, polo matches and golf tournaments as the city settled into the heart of the summer. The artist for the July 9 cover, Julian de Miskey, was in the summertime mood with this lively portrayal of Jazz Age bathers:

21b6fac0e9233b827d578cf6175dd79d
July 9, 1927 cover by Julian de Miskey. Born in Hungary in 1898, de Miskey emigrated to the United States in 1914.

Although Julian de Miskey was was one of the most prolific of the first wave of New Yorker artists, his work seems to be little known or appreciated. But even 40 years after his death in 1976, his influence is still felt in the magazine, particularly in the spot illustrations and overall decorative style that grace the pages of “The Talk of the Town.”

Here is a sampling of de Miskey’s spot illustrations for “Talk” in the July 9 and July 16, 1927 issues…

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-1-39-59-pm

…and here are examples of spot illustrations for some recent (Aug-Sept. 2016) New Yorker “Talk” sections, as rendered by Antony Huchette:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-1-40-11-pm

De Miskey did it all–spots, cartoons, and anywhere from 62 to 100 covers (varying numbers are reported).

A member of the Woodstock Art Association, de Miskey was well known in the New York art circles of his day, rubbing elbows in the Whitney Studio Club in Manhattan with artists including Edward Hopper, Guy Pene du Bois, Mabel Dwight and Leon Kroll. De Miskey also illustrated and designed covers for a number of books, studied sculpture and created stage sets and costume design.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-11-18-07-am
PROLIFIC…Julian de Miskey illustrated a number of children’s books, including Chúcaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa (1958-Newbery winner); The Trouble with Jenny’s Ear (1960); and Piccolo (1968) which was both written and illustrated by de Miskey.

The June 9 issue also featured this cartoon by de Miskey:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-18-17-am

 *  *  *

President Calvin Coolidge fled the bugs and heat of Washington, D.C. for cooler climes in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The New Yorker regularly mocked Coolidge’s dispatches from the Dakotas, including this item in “Of All Things”…

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-16-24-am

02-calvin-coolidge-cowboy_69085_600x450
VAPID CITY…Calvin Coolidge…Calvin Coolidge wears a cowboy hat and Western garb while on a 2-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1927. (Library of Congress)

The magazine’s July 16 issue added this observation in “Talk of the Town”…

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-38-02-pm

Closer to home, one cartoon offers an urban sophisticate’s take on nature:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-16-49-am

For those who couldn’t flee the city, respite was sought in Central Park, as illustrated by Constantin Alajalov for “Talk of the Town…”

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-14-08-am
click to enlarge

Summer themes continued with the July 16 issue, which featured a cover by Helen Hokinson depicting one of her favorite subjects–the plump society woman:

1f64e9e51d307bb03097744ebbb681f6
July 16, 1927 cover by Helen E. Hokinson.

From 1918 to 1966, thousands of New Yorkers attended summer open-air concerts at Lewisohn Stadium, an amphitheater and athletic facility on the campus of the City College of New York. For many years Willem Van Hoogstraten conducted the nightly concerts, including the summer of 1927 when George Gershwin played his Rhapsody in Blue to adoring crowds.

summer-conerts
Performance at Lewisohn Stadium, located at 136th Street and Convent Avenue. (nyc-architecture.com)
1925
Program for the 1925 Stadium Concerts series.     (archives.nyphil.org)        Click to enlarge

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-54-07-am

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-54-40-am

serpico-1973
FINAL BOW…A still from the 1973 film Serpico, showing actors Al Pacino and Tony Roberts walking through the abandoned Lewisohn Stadium just before it was demolished. (YouTube)
110927-gon039-01
UGH…The Lewisohn Stadium site is now occupied by a City College of New York building with the inspiring name, “North Academic Center.” (nyc-architecture.com)

And finally, another illustration in the “Talk of the Town” of summer in the city, this a teeming Coney Island beach courtesy of Reginald Marsh…

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-24-00-am
click to enlarge

However, if you wanted to avoid the rabble at the beach, you could fly over them–in style, of course…

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-10-23-20-am

Next Time: Picking on Charlie Chaplin…

5128947dc365cb603134bbb6e56f67aa

Published by

David O

I read and write about history from the perspective that history is not some artifact from the past but a living, breathing condition we inhabit every moment of our lives, or as William Faulkner once observed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I read original source materials, such as every issue of The New Yorker, not only as a way to understand a time from a particular perspective, but to also use the source as an aggregator of various historic events. I welcome comments, criticisms, corrections and insights as I stumble along through the century.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s