NP: ca.1949. Original pen and ink drawing, 2-5/8 inches x 4 inches on white laid paper, pencil notation "Lucrezia Borgia" below drawing and "downcast eyes" to left of drawing, in original frame with thank-you note from Phyllis Feldkamp. Preparatory sketch by New Yorker cartoonist, William Steig, for Will Cuppy's THE DECLINE AND FALL OF PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY published posthumously by editor, Fred Feldkamp. Lucretia Borgia is the fourth of five historical personalities covered in Chapter 3, "Strage Bedfellows." The image as reproduced in the book the same as this original piece of art with the exception of Lucretia's eyes which are "downcast" as noted in Steig's hand as a correction to the left of the portrait. A small change was the reversal of the dagger and poison bottle at either side of Lucretia.
William Steig (1907-2003) American cartoonist and illustrator of children's books, most notably "Shrek" began drawing for "The New Yorker" in 1930. Humorist Will Cuppy (1884)-1949) was also a "New Yorker" contributor; Fred Feldkamp (1914-1981) was Cuppy's close friend and literary executor. Fred Feldkamp and his wife, Phillys, sorted through Cuppy's files and notes to finish writing THE DECLINE AND FALL OF PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY less than a year after their friend's death.
Although known primarily for his 1990 publication of SHREK, William Steig's career as a cartoonist - he was called the "king of cartoons" - started as early as 1930 for "The New Yorker" and lasted throughout the 20th century. The success of THE DECLINE AND FALL OF PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY garnered fame for Cuppy and Steig and went through many printings. It is still a good read. Item #11078