Sunday, December 16, 2007
In honor of Beethoven's Birthday, I'm posting this caricature of him I did about 20 years ago. It's "personal work" I did just for fun, and I was so tickled by the way it came out that I had it printed up as a self-promo piece to send out to art directors. This is scanned off one of the prints, so it's nowhere as sharp as the original.
Back in the late '80s the Society of Illustrators in New York did several annual shows of humorous illustration and gave out awards called Funnybones. So I entered Ludwig and to my delight he brought home a Gold Funnybone from the Society of Illustrators. It's an actual bone-shaped object and heavy enough to be a dangerous weapon (I got a Silver Funnybone, too, for a drawing of Garrison Keillor, so if the kids want to have fights with them they're pretty evenly matched).
The Society of Illustrators had the Humorous Illustration Show in their lovely brownstone headquarters in NY in late 1988, and a few months later I entered Herr Ludwig in their annual all-illustration-type show, and it got into that, too. And, after that show, he got into a travelling show of select small pieces that went around to various galleries around the country, many of them in colleges & universities. Then, in late summer of '89, I got a call from the then-president of th S of I saying with great regret that my drawing was among 4 peices stolen from the University of Washington gallery, that the police were involved, we're sorry about this, here's a number to call, and did I want the insurance money? I'd insured it for $500, not too much I guess, and I said OK, I'll take the money, and I did. About a year later I got a call from the Seattle police with news that the 4 stolen pieces had been dropped off anonymously at the U of W campus security office, and would I like mine back? I did, though I had to give back the $500, and the piece looked fine other than a ding to the frame so I reframed it and hung it over the piano (the other illustrators had insured theirs for a lot more, several thousand, and I think they kept the money).
That's my exciting tale of glamorous international art theft (well, national). And he's still hanging over the piano, though in a different house. But, unlike Schroeder's bust of Beethoven, I don't think he ever smiles at me, especially when I'm trying to play the piano. I guess he's not THAT deaf.
UPDATE: Here's a bonus downloadable Beethoven Wallpaper for your computer!