1907 McCay Dream of the Rarebit Fiend Original art!
Auction ends Promptly.
Item Location: New Jersey N/A, United States
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Winsor McCay, one of the fathers of the comic strip form, was an undisputed genius. His work greatly influenced all those who have come after him.
McCay was born in 1867 in Canada, he had an early interest in drawing but his parents sent him to business college in Detroit. Unknown to his parents, he worked as a portrait artist in a "Dime Museum" in Detroit while attending Business college. "Dime Museums" were popular forms of entertainment in the 1800's. Patrons could view carnival type acts and oddities including "Freak Shows", as well as other forms of entertainment.
McCay left school at the age of 21, and went to work at the National Printing Company of Chicago. Here he illustrated posters for Circuses and other promotions. After two years he moved to Cincinnati, creating advertising posters for the Kohl and Middleton Dime Museum. He began to create quite a name for himself as a very talented artist.
Due to economic hardships, McCay was forced to take a new job as a cartoonist/reporter for the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune. It was here he learned to fine tune his talent as a draftsman. He was also able to pick up freelance work for other magazines, such as Life Magazine starting in 1899. In 1903 he produced an experimental comic strip entitled "Tales of The Jungle Imps by Felix Fiddle", based on poems by George Chester. At the end of 1903, McCay was being courted by the New York Herald, and promptly moved his family to New York. It was this period of time when the newspaper comic strip was becoming very popular. McCay began experimenting with his own original strips.
After a few unsuccessful tries, McCay developed "Little Sammy Sneeze" in 1904. This was followed by "Dream of a Rarebit Fiend" for the New York Telegram (also owned by the Herald) that same year. Both strips were quite successful. "Dream" was actually so popular that there was talk of producing a Broadway musical. The editor of the Herald wanted to separate his work for the two papers, so McCay’s contract would not allow him to sign his real name to the "Dream " strip. McCay used the alias "Silas" instead. In 1905 McCay began "Little Nemo in Slumberland", an extremely popular strip, considered by many as his masterpiece.
McCay's popularity increased, and he began performing on Vaudeville. His act consisted of "Speed Drawing" various characters including those from his strips. At the same time, McCay was still producing several daily strips, and editorial cartoons. After eight years, hundreds of editorial cartoons, and seven strips, McCay left the Tribune and went to work for William Randolph Hearst at the New York American. His arrival was a much publicized and heralded event.
Hearst felt that the Vaudeville act was taking too much of McCay’s time and he was ordered to concentrate on drawing Editorial cartoons only.
McCay continued to draw editorial cartoons until his death on July 26th 1934.
Offered here is a 1907 Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, in the much sought after horizontal format, pen and ink on paper, art measures 25" x 16", aside from some overall wear, the art is in overall Very Good condition.
Notice the first four panels of this example and really the entire feel of the art is very reminiscent of Little Nemo in Slumberland, McCay's masterpiece, which had begun 2 years earlier
Bidding is currently open, auction ends Friday, July 13th beginning at 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.
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