Lunch at the Astor

Lunch at the Astor
Will Cotton's 1929 Lunch at the Astor, depicting George and Ira Gershwin seated back-to-back, as if in a scene from one of their musicals, undoubtedly caught the eye of Vanity Fair editors then planning a conversion to color printing and a renewed emphasis on caricature. Adding a sliver of George S. Kaufman on the left and Henry Bodkin (an artist and Gershwin cousin) on the right, Cotton differentiated his figures with humorously contrasting skin tones.

Lunch at the Astor
Will Cotton (18801958)
Pastel on board, 1929
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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