Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Gardner Rea's Sideshow


 A scan of a Gardner Rea original from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Born in Ironton, Ohio (one of the legion of cartoonists originally born in Ohio), he sold his first cartoon at the age of 15 to the old LIFE Magazine. He moved to NYC after serving in the chemical warfare unit in WW1.

In 1920 he married Pratt graduate Dorothy Julia Calkins. They shortly moved to Brookhaven, where he designed and built a house.

Brookhaven would be where they would bring up two daughters and spend the rest of their lives.

Gardner Rea was one of the original New Yorker contributors. He drew his own cartoons and supplied gags to Charles Addams and Helen Hokinson. He was an aloof fellow, who, according to Ogden Nash, went into the city "only once a year" to see editors. He was still drawing until the end. 

From the New York Times:

"That somewhat serpentine line of his drawings, without detail, became his trademark, along with a trick of having in each picture a small shape, such as a necktie, inked in solid black. He explained the 'wiggle' of his line with another gag—'Nobody will catch on when I get senile.'

"But Mr. Rea distinguished between verbal humor and the art of drawing. He told an interviewer in 1946 that in common with most critics, he considered "that line is the highest, most difficult form of art, and so long long as the fundamental design is there, I can't see that it makes the slightest difference, technically speaking, if the subject matter is humorous."

Here are some cartoons from the book Gardner Rea's Sideshow. These scans are from the great Hairy Green Eyeball 2 blog



From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gardner Rea Gag Cartoons 1938 - 1963

Ger Apeldoorn's The Fabulous Fifties

Found In the Collection: Gardner Rea (1894 - 1966)

No comments: