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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Magazine Covers and Cartoons

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, female illustrators and cartoonists published drawings in the pages and on the covers of illustrated American magazines. Eye-catching covers attracted readers and established a publication's visual identity as well as signaled the issue's content. Drawings by caricaturist Peggy Bacon and New Yorker cartoonist Helen Hokinson underscored women's changing consciousness of themselves in the first half of the twentieth century. Bacon's elegantly dressed woman invites reflection on changing notions of feminine beauty. Hokinson depicts a group of women reminiscing at a college reunion in the 1940s. Decades apart, cover designs by Anne Harriet Fish and Anita Kunz each reference a theme in the magazine. Fish's lively dancers embody the increasingly free social interaction between the sexes evident in magazines of the 1920s. Kunz's image of a child caught in the coils of evil snake-like creatures forecasts an article about child abuse. In "Mixed Marriage," New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast depicts a wife humorously ranting to her husband in a sequence of comic strip panels. Photography and innovative typography began to transform magazine design by the mid-1930s, while cover art and cartoon styles continue to evolve as vibrant platforms of creativity for visual artists.

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