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"Love's labor's lost" / Gillam.

"Love's labor's lost" / Gillam.

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Illustration shows heavily tattooed James G. Blaine sitting on a stool while Whitelaw Reid, using a brush labeled "Tribune Excuses" and a "Explanation Pumice Stone", and William W. Phelps, using "Vindication Sand Paper", attempt to remove the tattoos of scandals associated with Blaine. On the floor around them are other cleaners labeled "W. Walter Phelps Sophistry Acid, Borax False Arguments, [a bucket of] Tribune Cleaning Fluid, Edmundsine, [and a bottle of] Tribune Editorials"; hanging on the wall behind them is a portrait of Joseph W. Keifer labeled "W. Phelps Previous Attempt at Cleaning". In the background on the left, beyond an American flag curtain, is a group of figures, among them is William M. Evarts and John Logan.
Title from item.
Illus. from Puck, v. 15, no. 374, (1884 May 7), back cover.
Copyright 1884 by Keppler & Schwarzmann.

It wasn't really until the 1700s that caricature truly blossomed as a form of political criticism. In the late 1750s, a man named Thomas Townshend began using the techniques employed by earlier engravers and applying them towards a political model. This gave Thompson's cartoons a much greater feeling of propaganda than previous artistic critiques of the time. The intense political climate of the period, and often accusatory nature of most political cartoons forced many artists to use pseudonyms in order to avoid accusations of libel. Other artists took it a step farther, and left their cartoons completely unsigned, foregoing any credit they may have received. Political higher-ups were notoriously touchy about their reputations and were not afraid to make examples of offenders. Puck was the first successful humor magazine in the United States of colorful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. It was published from 1871 until 1918.

Puck was founded by Austrian-born cartoonist Joseph Keppler and his partners as a German-language publication in 1876. Puck’s first English-language edition in 1877. The magazine name came from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream: “What fools these mortals be!” Puck used lithography instead of wood engraving and offered three cartoons vs. one of competitors. The cartoons were initially printed in black and white, but soon it changed into full, eye-catching color. Within a few years, Judge supplanted Puck as the leading humor magazine.





Gillam, Bernhard, 1856-1896, artist


Library of Congress

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