Friday, September 07, 2012

Art Collection: "Outdoor Sports" Drawing By "Tad" Dorgan, Ca. Early 1920s

(Click for bigger!)

Here's my latest Tad drawing acquisition (number 14!), and once again, some slob in the past just had to tear off the nice, dated engraving order on the back, leaving only a tantalizing stub. Curses!

Otherwise, this is another great, typical "Outdoor Sports" panel from the early 20s, poking fun at a senator for preaching fiscal responsibility from one side of his mouth while supporting a coterie of inept cronies out of the other side. Sound familiar?

Note that even though this scene takes place outdoors, Tad still manages to stick to his most typical compositional formula, which features a shallow, stagelike space on one side, and a deeper recession in space on the other side. You can see him doing the same thing here and here. What I love about this one is that he used every technique in his arsenal on it, from the widely brushed pattern on the senator's trousers to the more finely drawn pattern on the woman's skirt. His use of horizontal hatching to "push back" secondary characters is a unique Tad hallmark, as is the stuttered diagonal hatching at the top of the drawing.

And what a fantastic group of grotesque caricatures! I wonder if the senator is based on a real NY state senator from the period? This drawing could contain some literal truths as well as its more obvious metaphorical ones.

Is that an actual grammatical error in the caption? Did Tad really mean to phrase it as he goes to work of a morning instead of in the morning? If that's a mistake, and it really seems like one to me, it's the first I've seen in his work. I suppose it could just be archaic phrasing, but on the other hand, the cop is commenting that the senator is going home FROM work, while the caption says he's going TO work, so in any case, that caption isn't Tad's finest moment.

And, finally, there's a prohibition reference. Tad rarely missed an opportunity for one!


JMC said...

Yoohoo - if you Google (in quotes to be certain that your result is exactly what you input) "went out of a morning" you'll discover that it's a quaint/archaic way of saying "went out in the morning." lala

Peteykins said...

Yeah, it's looking like that is the case. Still, though, there's the disagreement between what the caption says and what the cop is saying, which is certainly an error.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop looking at how the feet blend into the others' pants, other feet, etc.The bootlegger's son's foot blends into the old guy, and the wife's blend into the Senator's...trippy.

samael7 said...

Yeah, "of" I've seen used like that. "Agnes, you come along of me now" is another phrasing I've seenin a rural/archaic context. (Terry Pratchett's country-dwelling witch characters often use "of" in this manner, and these are contemporary books).

But I didn't get that there was a contradiction between caption and cop. The caption is describing the senator's behavior every morning; we just happen to be catching a scene in the evening, when the truth comes out!

Not saying it's not odd, but I wasn't particularly jarred by it.