Arthur Getz

Arthur Getz
I love New Yorker covers. For years the venerable magazine has been featuring illustrations, often by cartoonists and illustrators working in a cartoon-like line and color style, that can be funny, poignant, beautiful, wistful and, at their best, reminders of the beautiful in the ordinary, glimpses of commonplace scenes that are suddenly brought into light as remarkable and worthy of attention.

Over the years some of the most effective of the latter have been by Arthur Getz. Getz was an illustrator and painter who created more New Yorker covers than any other artist (213). His palette ranged from the darks of night scenes to the bright, almost bleached out light of sunny days. He had a knack for composing paintings out of scenes that other artists might never notice and painting them with a deceptively casual style that actually reveals a superb eye for composition, color and the effects of light.

In addition to his New Yorker covers, Getz did hundreds of pen and ink spot illustrations for the magazine, as well as illustrations for Esquire, Fortune, The Nation and other publications. He also created murals for public spaces, including one for the 1939 World’s Fair. He was also a well-respected instructor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, the University of Connecticut and other schools.

Feeling his name as an illustrator would interfere with his gallery work, he exhibited his gallery paintings for many years under the pseudonym of his middle name, “Kimmig”.

Getz also illustrated children’s books, including four he wrote himself. There is a web site devoted to Getz’ work, maintained by his daughter, Sarah. One of the best places to see work is in the CartoonBank archive, from which you can purchase original artwork as well as prints of his remarkable New Yorker covers. There was also a nice piece about Getz in the New Yorker in 2002, called Cover Gallery: Glimpses of Light.

Link suggestion courtesy of Don O’Shea

 
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3 Replies to “Arthur Getz”

  1. I just had the most wonderful time gong through the New Yorker website Getz material cover by cover. One can see influences: the late Edward Hopper, Martin Lewis’s New York street scene etchings. Of course Getz was very much his own artist but it’s easy to see where he fits in the continuum. And now that he’s been gone from the scene for a number of years it’s also easier to see that he HAD to have been an influence on Gretchen Dow Simpson during her run of New Yorker covers late in Getz’s career.

    One marvels at the way the New Yorker has managed to create a kind of cover encountered nowhere else, a cover genre that is not strictly humor and not enirely whimsy or wistfulness, always illustrated but never belabored. They are in a class by themselves. The current New Yorker cartoon editor, Robert Mankoff, himself an enormously witty cartoonist who began his career contributing a weekly cartoon to a newspaper Real Estate section (imagine 52 cartoons a year on the topic of real estate – what a challenge!) deserves a great deal of credit for the marketing of New Yorker covers and cartoons beyond the magazine itself.

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