- n. Type of art in which the characteristic features of the human
figure are exaggerated for amusement or criticism. (Grove's Dictionary
the late 1990's the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National
Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG Library) made a special effort to
collect materials on caricature and cartoon in conjunction with
the National Portrait Gallery's 1998 exhibition "Celebrity
Caricature in America", curated by Wendy Wick Reaves. Among
our holdings are more than 80 issues of Vanity Fair, as well
as the Raymond W. Smith Collection of Caricature and Cartoon Books
of over 500 items. Displayed here is just a small sample from our
collection, featuring Al Hirschfeld, Miguel Covarrubias, some of
their contemporaries, and works from Vanity Fair.
Hirschfeld (1903-2003) was a prolific artist and book illustrator.
Starting in 1929, he became known for drawings of show business
personalities done for the New York Times. Hirschfeld fans search
for the name of his daughter, Nina, hidden in most of his caricatures.
artist and writer Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) published
his illustrations in large circulation newspapers in Mexico. Settling
in New York in 1923, he began writing and drawing for Vanity
Fair and the New Yorker. He was particularly interested
in non-Western societies and their cultural traditions.
Fair was launched in January 1914, ran until February 1936,
and was revived in March 1983. The editor of this "kaleidoscopic
review of modern life", Frank Crowninshield, was a former art
editor of The Century who had also helped organize the 1913
New York Armory Show and founded the Museum of Modern Art in New
York. The magazine sought a liberal upper middle class audience.
The AA/PG Library has some 83 issues.
the Exhibition Gallery