Lot 5: 1941 original cartoon art, 1st famed African-American cartoonist
15th December 2016
Author: N/A; Title: Original signed 1941 cartoon art by the first nationally-acclaimed Black cartoonist; Place Published: N/A; Publisher: N/A; Date Published: 1941; Description: E. Simms Campbell. Original single panel cartoon, from his syndicated comic strip, February 25, 1941. 8 x 10 inch image on 9 x 14.5 inches stiff white paper, india ink drawing of blonde woman seated on couch with dejected-looking man, captioned, "Please stop worrying. I'll let you know when I'm fed up with you." Signed twice by Campbell, once in the image, again below the caption with an inscription to Richard Portfee. With King Features Syndicate copyright label pasted at bottom. Much of the image discolored by offset from a "screentone" sheet originally pasted on to the image.From an early version of Campbell's World War II "Cuties" cartoon series, featuring sexually-alluring blonde women with a no-nonsense attitude toward men, which was wildly popular with white soldiers - who had no idea that the artist was a Black man. Syndicated in over 100 daily newspapers and collected in two wartime booklets, "Cuties" was a tribute to Campbell's well-established national reputation after eight years of featured illustrations for Esquire magazine. It was ironic that, despite Campbell's close ties to writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance, in order to succeed in a white-dominated society, he was rarely able to incorporate African-American themes in his drawings for books, magazines or newspapers. The notable exception was his legendary 1932 "Nightclub Map of Harlem", published as centerfold in an obscure, short-lived Manhattan weekly; a copy sold in these Galleries several years ago for $10,000
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