Monday, January 26, 2015

Art Young

I saw my friends Glenn Bray and his wife Lena Zwalve in Los Angeles the week before last. Glenn is a collector of comic art of the highest echelon, I met him many years ago through my late friend Rick Griffin. He has one of the finest eyes I have ever encountered in my many years buying and selling art.

Last year Fantagraphics published a book featuring his remarkable collection, which you can find hereThe Blighted Eye: Original Comic Art from the Glenn Bray Collection.

Glenn sent me a note about a new addition to his collection that I found interesting. He has added a considerable amount of material to his collection of works by the late cartoonist Art Young (1866-1943.) He now has about 650 of Young's cartoons and drawings.

Young was a socialist firebrand artist active in the early part of the twentieth century. He had a rather pithy sense of social commentary and was repeatedly jailed for what some considered seditious tendencies. His line work reminds me much of Daumier.

Young initially studied at the Chicago Institute under Vanderpoel. He made his way to europe and studied for a time at Academie Julien in Paris.

Young worked for various newspapers and magazines, including Puck.

Eventually he fell under the influence of John Sloan and he moved to Greenwich Village in 1910, working for a leftist screed called The Masses.

Young ran for a seat on the New York  Assembly in 1913 but was unsuccessful.

In July 1913, the magazine published Young's cartoon 'Poisoned at the Source,' which depicted the AP's president, Frank B. Noyes, poisoning a well labeled 'The News' with lies, suppressed facts, slander, and prejudice. The cartoon was a response to the lack of national news coverage on the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. The strike had lasted more than a year, and was characterized by deadly clashes between miners and militia hired by the coal companies. The coal companies were successful in having the Federal government declare martial law under a military tribunal, an egregious act according to the editors of the Masses.
The fact that little had been heard about these occurrences outside of West Virginia troubled those on the magazine's staff. Young's cartoon and Max Eastman's editorial, published in the same issue, claimed the AP had willfully suppressed the facts in order to aid the coal companies. The AP responded in kind with two suits of libel against Eastman and Young on November 1913 and January 1914. Both suits eventually were dropped after Young and Eastman's attorney subpoenaed the records of the AP's Pittsburgh office, possibly out of fear that the testimony and evidence would be damaging after becoming public through the legal proceedings.

Young's work is very powerful. Some of the issues that piqued him are obviously still endemic in today's world.  I look forward to seeing the balance of the collection one day and learning more about this artist.

after one war, they started raising babies for the next...


Anonymous said...

Come the revolution...

Anonymous said...

Looking good Robby! Whatever you're doing, keep it up.

From The Crow's Nest said...

Robert- What happened to my Art Young comment? (A fan of his for twenty years).

Blue Heron said...

never got it - send again please...