Magazine article The New Yorker

Leading Ladies

Magazine article The New Yorker

Leading Ladies

Article excerpt

/online/slideshows/pop/?021111onslpo_slideshow Helen Elna Hokinson, born in rural Illinois in 1893, moved east to New York in 1920 to pursue a career as an illustrator. Five years later, she caught on at the brand-new New Yorker, which began sending her to illustrate cultural events: music recitals, dance classes, museum openings. From the first, Hokinson's perspective was gently satirical: in an early illustration, two elderly women regard a modernist sculpture (Brancusi's "Bird in Space") with apprehension. A few months after Hokinson joined the magazine, the editors began adding captions to her drawings, transforming them into cartoons.

Hokinson is best known for her society ladies. Her talent--like that of many artists of her generation, including George Price and Peter Arno--was purely for the drawings themselves; the caption writing was left to others. …

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