Harold Ross

Harold Ross
For all those artists developing a career in caricature, an important new outlet for their work arrived in 1925 with the advent of Harold Ross's magazine, the New Yorker. Ross lacked Frank Crowninshield's refined background and polished wit, but this rough-edged westerner had a keen sense of eastern urbanity. Adopting the presiding irreverent tone, Ross's new venture would provide its metropolitan audience with a guide to the emerging culture of celebrity and entertainment.

The first years of the magazine were precarious, as Ross struggled with the format and the finances. However, the "art," as it was called covers, illustrations, cartoons, and caricatures succeeded from the beginning. Rea Irvin, a veteran editor of Life, served as the unofficial art director, persuading the best comic draftsmen to contribute. Irvin's portrait of Ross-a bogus cover printed as a birthday tribute-was based on his famous "Eustace Tilley" inaugural cover. The jokingly dandified Ross examines pesky critic Alexander Woollcott, a close friend with whom he shared a running feud.

Harold Ross 1892-1951
Rea Irvin (1881-1972)
Printed illustration, 1926
Collection of Patricia Ross Honcoop

NEXT portrait

BACK to "The Smart Magazines"

Past Exhibitions | National Portrait Gallery Home