Tuesday, February 14, 2012



MORAN said...

I once knew a girl like that.

Regina said...
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Regina said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweet heart!
A very powerful drawing. Glad you back to posting your Valentine cards.
I am sure there is a deep meaning why you chose to illustrate this quotation.
Looking forward to hear the story behind it.

Anonymous said...

Will someone explain this Valentine to me?


Donald Pittenger said...

Off-topic, but since I can't find an email address for you on the site, I thought I'd use this comment to mention that I posted some early Robert Fawcett images on my blog on Feb. 6th. These are illustrations circa 1930 that won awards from the Art Directors Club of New York. And their style is not the Fawcett most of us think of.

Coming up the 20th will be Edwin Georgi's early stuff that's also different from the familiar.

Since you wrote the text of the recent Fawcett book, I thought this might interest you.

अर्जुन said...

Which reminds me, I've meant to ask/complain about the books total absence of artwork from the years 1928,1929,1930,1931,1932,1933,1934 …7 years!

Perhaps you could rectify the oversight with a post …Robert Fawcett, the Early Work.

I mean, not even a mention of Cadillac!

David Apatoff said...

MORAN-- Well, as ol' Mencken would suggest, we think we know a lot of things.

Regina-- Many thanks, and Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

JSL-- Perhaps they will, we'll have to wait and see.

Donald Pittenger-- I try to check in at your blog regularly but I have been out of circulation for the past week or so. I love those early Art Directors Club annuals, although the size and quality of their reproductions aren't in the same league with the Society of Illustrators Annuals. And I am always interested in seeing early Fawcett, before he was Fawcett. Thanks for sharing. I have some of his student drawings from the Slade school which I prefer to the commercial work he did in his first few years as a professional.

David Apatoff said...

अर्जुन-- Fortunately, Donald Pittenger has now covered "Robert Fawcett, The Early work" in his blog post.

It is always difficult to come up with the right representative sample of an artist's work. You have displayed such an unholy ability to locate arcane work and pull it together in unexpected ways, I would be fascinated to see what images you would select for such a book.

Regina said...

In your Valentine card for 2010 you gave an interesting take on how the man can be a poet and a warrior at the same time.
I thought that this card also contains your philosophical views. It would be interesting to learn more about it.

Sorry for writing sweetheart separately like sweet potato! The funny thing is that Oxford dictionary gives an example for this word as "David and his sweetheart".

Anonymous said...


Matthew Harwood said...

Interpretation #1
The early worm catches the bird

StimmeDesHerzens said...

'We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.'
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

On the other hand, the enticing female seems to be a master... even her protruding tummy is delectable!
But like anonymous implies, should not a Valentine card portray truth in love?

David Apatoff said...

Regina-- Every artist knows you're not supposed to explain your work.

On the other hand, I'm not an artist, I'm just me. So let's try at least this part of it:

In the era of easy hook ups, some people-- usually men-- are tempted to believe that when a person disrobes in front of you (or texts you gynecological photos from their cell phone) you have learned their secrets. The unsuspecting chap in the Valentine, for example, believes he has lucked into something that will turn out to be easy and uncomplicated. But as Nietzsche said, "our rivers roar in subterranean caverns." This valentine might be considered a cautionary reminder (and a celebration) of that fact for men in singles bars and scientists in laboratories.

António Araújo said...

This one resonates, David :)....

It made me recall a "Valentine" I did about a decade ago, when I fell in love with a white swan that concealed a Cheshire cat :)


What a dangerous game is love, and what innocence when one thinks himself the hunter :)

It isn't always so, however...sometimes love is silly simple and warm, and you have to wonder what all the complication was about. And you get to do stupid, happy-happy cards, and you are grateful for it and hope your cards will be forever this light and daft and simple minded...:)


(ps: whenever possible, I avoid Valentine's day like the plague! :D)

David Apatoff said...

Regina-- PS: as long as you have your Oxford English Dictionary out, check out "penetralia" (a great word).

Etc, etc.-- I love works like that Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism-- You just don't see that kind of scholasticism anymore. But there's a lot that can be done with swans and geese, whether you're conscious of the iconography or not.

Matthew Harwood-- Ahhh, but what does he do with it?

StimmeDesHerzens-- There is a lot of truth in Goethe, as always. But wouldn't you say the woman presenting herself is deceiving herself just as much the man is deceiving himself? (And as for "truth in love"... well, those are certainly words to conjure with. Instead of offering my views on that weighty subject, can I just say I'm glad you appreciated her tummy?)

Regina said...

It was clear to me that the man was getting in trouble. I was just looking forward to hear your philosophical discourse on the topic of love in the contemporary world. To make your point you usually bring references from history, literature and art. Very educational! This is one of the reasons I like to hang around here.
By the way, I have a different interpretation to offer to your Valentine card. I am hopelessly romantic. I can't take it.

What we see here is a contemporary rendition of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. He is a noble man who is ready to neglect his duties and choosing to die for love. She is dressed in the style of the "Queen of the Nile", very common for the Cleopatra's court. The beast in the back ground is Cleopatra's passion. It is dying in the agony and brings the tragic end closer.
I am dying, Egypt,dying;only
I here importune death awhile,
Of many thousand kisses the
poor last
I lay upon thy lips.

P.S.I looked up the word penetralia. It rhymes with coprolalia,echolalia, glossolalia, inter alia,Lupercalia, marginalia and saturnalia.

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David Apatoff said...

Antonio Araujo-- Thanks for sharing your valentines. I enjoyed them, and would love to see how other participants have had fun with images in this field. I of course don't believe you when you say that you avoid Valentine's Day like the plague.

Regina-- It is perhaps harder to find a subject that is NOT about love.

I agree with you that the wild swan of passion is at the heart of most variations of this Valentine, but I am surprised to hear a "romantic" Russian describe this as the death throes of the swan. Are you sure you aren't one of those tragic Russians in disguise? On Valentine's Day, perhaps it is time to put down the Dostoevsky and pick up the S.J. Perelman (“Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin .. it's the triumphant twang of a bedspring.”)

Regina said...

No, thank you. Shakespeare is romantic enough for me.

David Apatoff said...

Regina-- Ahhh, Shakespeare certainly had his romantic moments but like Walt Whitmsn he was vast and contained multitudes. Why do my Russian friends always gravitate to his tragic and melancholy passages? I do not question the profundity or passion of the words, but isn't there enough time for them on February 13th or 15th?

I once drew a valentine using a different quote from Antony and Cleopatra, the wonderful, panting description of Cleopatra's love barge:

Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them, the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes.

kev ferrara said...
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kev ferrara said...

Kevfuscious say: When blue thoughts try to smell like red roses, the result is purple prose.

Anonymous said...

I love works like that Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism-- You just don't see that kind of scholasticism anymore.

So do I. Here's another.

Regina said...

I am getting confused. Did I post a gloomy poetry and you responded with a pessimistic Valentine? Or was it other way around?
" Why do my Russian friends.." Does it mean that I am included? Most of the time I feel like I am overstaying your hospitality.
On the subject of the love poetry , my favorite man is Mayakovsky.

Вы любовь на скрипки ложите.
Любовь на литавры ложит грубый.
А себя,как я, выбернуть вы можете,
чтобы были одни сплошные губы?
(This is from Облако в штанах).

David Apatoff said...

Kevfucious-- Careful, if you start playing with such colors you could end up marooned.

Etc, etc-- It looks fantastic, but $540? Yikes.

Regina-- As I recall (and I could be wrong) I posted a rorschach test about love and you chose to construe that huge flapping passion lurking behind the woman as something in its death throes. I agree with you and your friend Shakespeare that love has its agonies, (just as I agree with Nietzsche that love and death have rhymed for ages) but in honor of valentine's day I would have selected a more upbeat passage from Antony and Cleopatra. I don't know enough about Mayakovsky but it sounds like he is worth investigating. I haven't yet managed a complete translation of the passage you quote.

Learned the Hard way said...

Women strip and tell you they aren't hiding anything. Then when you try to leave they introduce you to their pet swan.

Regina said...

Hello David! I have translation of the passage from Mayakovsky's The Cloud in Trousers for you:

Tender souls!
You play your love on a fiddle,
and the crude club their love on a drum.
But you cannot turn yourselves inside out,
like me, and be just bare lips!

It is a pretty good translation. I just want to add that the third and the last lines rhyme in the original; also to bear in mind, that in Russian language it sounds more confrontational, more crude and vulgar.

Anonymous said...

Etc, etc-- It looks fantastic, but $540? Yikes.

I bought both volumes like new at Strand for $175.

David Apatoff said...

Learned The Hard Way-- If you believe a person can't conceal anything when they strip naked in front of you, you're probably too young to be with someone who strips naked.

Regina-- Very nice, thank you for the translation and the additional spin on it. A certain amount of crudeness, applied with skill and in the right quantities, can be very effective.

Etc, etc-- Time for me to revisit Strand when I am in NY next.

asiabet99.com said...

your Valentine card for 2010 you gave an interesting take on how the man can be a poet and a warrior at the same time.

Jack-Wheatley said...

Dear David

I am a first year student of illustration at Camberwell college of art in south London. I have followed your blog for quiet some time and been introduced to the likes of Leyendecker and Fawcett. I find the work you post truly inspirational and strongly believe in the practice of drawing and its ability to expand the visual realms of the artist.
I have been asked to conduct primary research into a topic that concerns illustration in some form or manner. It would be great if you where to pose a question to me that would test my knowledge of contemporary and past illustration.

Jack http://www.flickr.com/photos/jack-wheatley/

Stephy - juegos de mario said...

so cute -.-

veri nice and great art