Covering The New Yorker In Westport

It’s one of the New Yorker‘s most famous covers: the view of the rest of the country, from Manhattan. Everything from the Hudson River west is wasteland or the Pacific Ocean.

The view from Westport can look a bit myopic too. For instance, because so many illustrators lived here (and started Famous Artists School), we still think of ourselves as an artists’ colony.

Those 2 things — the New Yorker and art — come together this month in clever, self-patting fashion. The Westport Historical Society‘s next exhibits focus on Westport’s influence on the famed magazine.

“Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” highlights the 761 covers designed between 1925 and 1989 by 16 artists living in the area. An amazing 44 of those covers actually show Westport scenes.

This Charles Saxon cover from December 19, 1959 seems inspired by the Westport train station.

This Charles Saxon cover from December 19, 1959 seems inspired by the Westport train station.

Artists include Garrett Price, James Daugherty, Perry Barlow, Charles Addams and Whitney Darrow Jr.

From 1939 to 1973 the New Yorker’s art editor was James Geraghty. He too lived here, so his suburban commuter mentality greatly influenced the covers.

Curator Eve Potts has collected artifacts, anecdotes and correspondence from Geraghty and the families of the 15 artists for this show.

The first page of "Hiroshima" in the New Yorker.

The first page of “Hiroshima” in the New Yorker.

A companion exhibit — “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover…” — is based on a New Yorker quirk: the cover offers no clue to the stories inside.

That was especially true on August 31, 1946. The entire magazine was devoted to one story: “Hiroshima,” by John Hersey. He soon moved to Westport, bowled and golfed with Geraghty’s local New Yorker teams — and served on the Board of Education.

A later resident of his South Turkey Hill home was Martha Stewart. In the hands of a talented illustrator, that idea would make a perfect New Yorker cover.

PS: Here’s one New Yorker cover that resonates especially strongly today. Artist Jenni Oliver is not a Westporter. But her subject matter — on November 12, 1984 — is poignant, considering the upcoming demise of 15 trees on the Longshore entrance road.

Here you go:

New Yorker - Longshore cover

(An opening reception for the 2 exhibits is set for Sunday, January 26 (3 p.m.). For more information, click here or call 203-222-1424.)

7 responses to “Covering The New Yorker In Westport

  1. No mention of Tom Funk? (From Wikipedia)
    Tom Funk (1911–2003) was an illustrator who for some 40 years was associated with the distinctive visual style of the New Yorker magazine, to which he contributed ‘spots’ depicting New York buildings, portraits for profiles of subjects ranging from Pablo Picasso to D. T. Suzuki, and a distinctive style of cartography, as well as general illustrations in the years before the magazine introduced photographs

  2. Tom Funk might be one of the cover artists in the show–come to the Historical Society to find out! Thanks to Dan for that excellent coverage of the upcoming exhibit. It will be up from the opening on Sunday January 26 until the end of April.

  3. Sounds like a great exhibit–looking forward to it. I remember when David Levine, a summer resident who used to play tennis at Longshore when I worked there, did a fabulous illustration of the Knicks (for another publication). I know some of his work appeared in the New Yorker–and I will be curious to see if he did any of the covers.

  4. I had always thought the Charles Saxon Train Station painting was of the New Canaan, CT building, now I realize, that the railroad buildings built in the 1860’s to 1880 were all of the same stick built vernacular in barn red.

  5. Mary Ann–you are correct. That cover is of the New Canaan station–which closely resembles the station in Westport. Saxon was a New Canaan resident for many years–and he also was part of the Westport art scene in earlier years. There are several covers in the exhibit of the Westport station–by Garrett Price and Albert Hubbell. Edna Eicke, wife of Tom Funk, did many New Yorker covers, but Tom Funk, though he did many spots for the New Yorker, never did do a cover. Their daughters have been in contact with us and will be coming to the Exhibit opening on January 26. We invite everyone to not to miss this special Westport event. The exhibit runs through April 26.

  6. Richard Lawrence Stein

    This is toooo cool!!!! not a New Yorker cover artist, but the great artist Jim Sharpe… Did many TV Guides and several very memorable Newsweek covers … Was a long time westporter and genuinely cool guy

  7. Wish I could see this show! There are some wonderful covers of westport. I know of one, that appears to be taken inside the old wood bath houses at Compo and another of the lifeguard stand and beach. I think they might have been from the 1930’s.