1926 Pen & Ink Political Cartoon - James Libertini - Republican (Lutherville)
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Wonderfully evocative 1926 political cartoon, done in pen & ink by Maryland artist James J. Libertini. Measures 11" wide and 7" tall. On artist paperboard. Signed "LIBERTINI 1926" near bottom-right. An original -- not a copy.
This cartoon is dated 1926, and shows a portly man with a huge moustache leading an elephant labeled "G.O.P." by its trunk. The man bears what I feel is a striking resemblance to ex-President William Howard Taft, who was, in 1926, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. I don't know what the cartoon would have intended to convey. Is the man, indeed, Taft? If so, was there a Supreme Court matter in 1926 which would cause someone to infer that Taft was "leading" the Republican party? This is all conjecture -- I simply don't know, and am making semi-educated guesses. I found that in 1926, there WAS a Supreme Court case involving the President -- who at that time was Calvin Coolidge, a Republican. SEE: Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926, a United States Supreme Court decision ruling that the President has the exclusive power to remove executive branch officials, and does not need the approval of the Senate or any other legislative body.
I don't know whether this cartoon was ever published. The only ink mark I can find, other than the signature and the drawing itself, is a very small "-13-" in its upper right-hand corner. Was this drawing part of a series? I don't know.
Brief Artist Biography:
James J. Libertini
February 24, 1907 - December 3, 1993
Studied at The Maryland Institue (now The Maryland Institute College of Art) for 5 years, earning his master of fine arts degree.
His professional career began in 1926 as art director for 3 firms.
In 1928, Libertini was the campaign artist for Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith. He created the "Brown Derby" campaign.
In 1933 he joined the Baltimore News American newspaper as a staff artist. From 1944 to '46, he went to work for a Baltimore store drawing furniture illustrations. He joined the Baltimore Sunpapers in 1946.
During WW II, he did aerial mapping for the U.S. War Department at Johns Hopkins University.
Of no art-related interest, but a couple of fun facts I discovered about Mr. Libertini:
He became a Golden Gloves welterweight in 1924 (147 pounds) He won 8 fights by first-round knockouts, and lost only 3 by decision.
In May, 1939, he and a parking lot attendant named Allan Quille rescued a woman who had jumped into Baltimore Harbor.
On March 5, 1946, he filed suit against a Baltimore bowling alley, contending that he received a brain concussion when he was hit on the head by a bowling ball thrown by a fellow using an adjacent lane.
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