Inkspill
Wednesday Spill: Latest Addition To The Spill Archive: A 1945 Helen Hokinson Drawing
October 13, 2021

Latest Addition to The Spill Collection: A 1945 Hokinson
It’s rare I post about additions to the Spill‘s collection of original work by New Yorker artists. The latest piece to arrive has caused me to break that semi-tradition. I saw the drawing on Ebay a few weeks ago (my attention drawn to it by a friend who also scouts the internet for good things). I loved the piece at first sight, but had grave doubts I could “win” it within my modest budget. Obviously, I was wrong about that. 
The drawing appeared in The New Yorker, November 24, 1945, at the tail end of Ms. Hokinson’s life (New Yorker cartoonist history buffs will recall that Ms. Hokinson died in 1949, in what was then the most lethal civilian air crash this country had known. The commercial plane she was in collided with a small plane over the Potomac). 
The original drawing (in a frame, so pardon the awkward scan), is quite large: 16″ x 11 1/2″. I’ve always been impressed by New Yorker artists who draw big (Peter Arno, Edward Koren, Edward Sorel, and George Price — just to name a few of the big picture marquee names). For one who draws small (around 3″ x 5″), doubling the space (plus some), and keeping the work graphically intact seems unthinkable.
I immediately hung the “new” Hokinson on a wall near my work table, and stood in front of it (the drawing, not the table) and took it all in. There’s so much going on in this piece — it’s not just a drawing helping out an idea — it’s an artist’s world. Ms. Hokinson obviously had a heck of a good time capturing her mind’s eye scene. I love the cars, the New York City policeman’s double breasted coat, the city sidewalk clock, the buildings leaning out of their foundations, the passengers in the cabs, and of course, Ms. Hokinson’s classic “matron”…for me, it all adds up to an excellent example of an artist at her peak, enjoying her work and what she can do with it. 
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Helen Hokinson’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
Helen Hokinson  Born, Illinois,1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956). According to a New Yorker document produced during Harold Ross’s editorship (1925-1951) rating their artists, Ms. Hokinson and Peter Arno occupied a special category unto themselves above all others.
 
 
     
CARTOONIST
CARTOONISTS
CARTOONS
HELEN HOKINSON
NEW YORKER CARTOONIST
NEW YORKER CARTOONISTS
NEW YORKER CARTOONS
THE NEW YORKER
Tuesday Spill: M. Bohanan, A 1927 New Yorker Cartoonist, Added To The A-Z; A National Cartoonist Society Reuben’s Video Of Interest; Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon
Thurber Thursday: Alarms & Diversions…An Abandoned Robbery Attempt; Fave Throwback Photo Of The Day: Some Very Funny Ladies
ONE COMMENT
Ed Frascino says:
October 13, 2021 at 5:23 pm
How fortunate to have an original drawing by one of my all time favorite cartoonist. I very much enjoyed your comments about Helen Hokinson and her drawing. Many thanks.
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