Friday, October 05, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson

Here's another card from that Gibson line published by Detroit Publishing, this one being #14006. Odd thing about this card is that the reverse is completely blank. I have several like this. Maybe these postcards were also sold as notecards?

This famous Gibson cartoon with its unusual perspective has always reminded me of Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, Christina's World.


It is unusual that the card is blank on one side. Ordinarily my guess would be that it might be a Mutoscope card, one that could be used as a post card if you chose, but Detroit Publishing seems to be too classy for that. I know that this is a post card, the "14,006" is fitting with the Gibson series cards.
You may have a rare misprint, or perhaps, half-print.
Incidentally, this cartoon was the centerspread of LIFE's 1 October 1896 ish.
Just a question. Where do you guys draw the line between cartoon and illustration? This would be a ill in my book.
I think there's a pretty vast gray area. Is Hal Foster's Prince Valiant cartooning or illustration? What about McCay's editorial cartoons? In fact, is anything not going for a laugh automatically illustration?

The answer, to my thinking, lies in that illustrations are meant to provide graphic definition to what are primarily written works, whereas cartoons rely on the graphic, and the words are important but secondary. Therefore the McCay example is definitely illustration, whereas Foster is very much straddling two worlds. The illustration and prose are almost 50/50 collaborators in his case. As to the Gibson card? I think it is a cartoon.

All that being said, I can very easily see counter-arguments.

Good question anonymous. --Allan
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