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Sunday, February 8, 2009

"The Newlyweds" - 1908 George McManus Watercolor (Signed)

Here is an interesting piece by George McManus. McManus was a good friend of Windsor McCay and McCay's film "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914) may have been a result of a bet between the two. McManus evidently went on tour with McCay as he presented his new film. There has been some talk that McCay and McManus passed their time on the tour drawing the first animated porn film -- but I have not seen any specific evidence of this... But, it's an interesting thought.

The framing is unusual. The original 1908 frame was saved by a re-framing done in the 1940's.

"The Newlyweds" by George McManus

Here are some comments by the seller:
Here’s an interesting piece by George McManus of Maggie & Jiggs fame. These 3 signed watercolors by McManus are Specialty pieces he did of the 3 main characters from his ''Newlyweds'' strip in 1908. They are still in the original frame and in excellent condition. As you know, watercolors by strip artists are tough to come by. Thought you might like it. You know, one of the interesting things about it was how remarkably popular the strip was and that it only lasted for about 18 months! Using the idea of the remarkably beautiful woman married to the rather plain (or down right ugly) husband was a VERY unique thing at the time. It was a "gag" that became so integrated into American culture that you don't even think of it as a gag any more. but McManus did it first. The taste of the American public was growing and maturing at a fantastic rate. The measure of what was considered "beautiful" was changing almost alarmingly fast. McManus was one of the first artists in America to see the trend moving away from the "well rounded" woman to the more modern ideal of the slim, intelligent "backbone of the family" image. This basic theme carried through to his Maggie & Jiggs strip, who's instant popularity caused the demise of the earlier effort. Historically it's important because it was his first major success and it put McManus in the "right place at the right time" to develop the later strip. The actual art done for "The Newlyweds" was probably the best pure art McManus ever produced and the three paintings.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on McManus:
George McManus (January 23, 1884 – October 22, 1954) is an American cartoonist best known as the creator of Irish immigrant Jiggs and his wife Maggie, the central characters in his syndicated comic strip, Bringing Up Father. Born in St. Louis, Missouri of Irish parents, McManus had an innate gift for drawing and a sense of humor. He dropped out of school at age 15 to join the art department of the St. Louis Republic, where he created his first comic strip, Alma and Oliver. In 1904, after winning some money, he headed for New York City and a job with the prestigious New York World, where he worked on several short-lived strips, including Snoozer, The Merry Marcelene, Ready Money Ladies, Cheerful Charlie' and 'Nibsby the Newsboy in Funny Fairyland, Panhandle Pete and Let George Do It. In 1904, when McManus created the first American family strip, The Newlyweds, about an elegant young couple and their baby Snookums, the popularity of the strip prompted The New York American to invite McManus to join their paper, which he did from 1912 on. Renaming The Newlyweds as Their Only Child, he continued that strip and launched other daily strips: Rosie's Beau, Love Affairs of a Mutton Head, Spareribs and Gravy and Bringing Up Father. Syndicated internationally by King Features Syndicate, Bringing Up Father achieved great success and was produced by McManus from 1913 until his death, when Vernon Greene and Frank Fletcher took over. In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the "Comic Strip Classics" series of commemorative United States postage stamps. McManus died in 1954 in Santa Monica, California and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From George McManus’ “The Newlyweds” (1908). From George McManus’ “The Newlyweds” (1908). 3 signed watercolors by McManus are specialty pieces he did of the 3 main characters from his ''Newlyweds'' strip in 1908. Artwork is mounted in two frames: the original art and 1908 frame were placed in a larger frame in the 1940’s. [Images: 3 @ 8.5”W x 10.5”H; Frame: 31.5”W x 15”H] Acquired 2004. SeqID-1192 Updated: 7/16/2005

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