Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"Tell me a story where the bad girl wins: The life and art of Barbara Shermund"

From the Billy Ireland Library and Museum.

The New Yorker - Saturday, June 8, 1940 - Issue # 799 - Vol. 16 - N° 17

Barbara Shermund is an unheralded early master of gag cartooning. 

Her sharp wit and loose style boldly tapped the zeitgeist of first-wave feminism with vivid characters that were alive and astute. 

Shermund’s women spoke their minds about sex, marriage, and society; smoked cigarettes and drank; and poked fun at everything in an era when it was not common to see young women doing so.

In Liza Donnelly’s book Funny Ladies, she writes, “What comes through in many of the cartoons is that Shermund’s women did not need men.”

Gosh- he loves you more than he does me -. by Barbara-Shermund
“Gosh- he loves you more than he does me -” c. 1930s.
International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection.

Born in San Francisco in 1899, Shermund briefly attended the California School of Fine Arts before relocating to New York City. 

As one of the first women cartoonists to work for The New Yorker after its launch in 1925, she created nine covers and hundreds of cartoons for the magazine. 

The New Yorker - Saturday, March 18, 1939 - Issue # 735 - Vol. 15 - N° 5 

Shermund later became a mainstay at Esquire, contributed to Life and Collier’s, had her syndicated newspaper cartoon Shermund’s Sallies published by King Features, and illustrated a variety of books and advertisements. 

In 1950, Shermund was among the first three women to be accepted as a member of the male-dominated National Cartoonist Society. 

She lived a private life and traveled extensively. 

Without ever having a formal studio space, she preferred drawing at the kitchen table, and should an idea strike her in the middle of the night, she slept with a notepad and pencil under her pillow.

Through photographs, letters, original art, and books never before displayed, this exhibition uncovers and celebrates the life and career of this outstanding cartoonist.



Tell me a story where the bad girl wins: The life and art of Barbara Shermund
November 3, 2018 - March 31, 2019 
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St.
Columbus Ohio 43210

Closed Mondays, during exhibit installations, and holidays.
Before your visit, see Hours for all closings. 

Curated by Caitlin McGurk, Assistant Professor & Associate Curator

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