: , 1950. Item #02873
A Spectacular Original Pen, Ink and Watercolor Drawing by Gerard Hoffnung
HOFFNUNG, Gerard. [Seniors in the Nursery]. Undated [ca. 1950s].
Original pen, ink and watercolor. Signed in ink at top right-hand corner. Image size 6 3/8 x 6 3/8 inches (164 x 164 mm) on 7 7/8 x 7 3/8 inches (200 x 188 mm) art board.
A crowd of senior citizens in their second childhood run amok in a nursery-playroom, reminiscent of the gaggle of philharmonic musicians out of control in the 1955 classic animated satire, The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra. Indeed, the composition of this image mirrors that of the musicians' in one sequence of the cartoon: comically crammed together in a square bursting its sides.
Gerard Hoffnung (1925-1959) was an artist and musician, best known for his humorous works. He developed a unique vein of gentle, yet powerful humor through drawings, lectures and even concerts (his favorite subject was music at its most delightful and daft).
Raised in Germany, Hoffnung was brought to London as a boy, to escape the Nazis. Over the next two decades in England, he became known as a cartoonist, tuba player, impresario, broadcaster and public speaker.
In 1939 he enrolled at Highgate School, where, according to one biographer, he was "remembered for his anarchic spirit." Among the artists he most admired when he was growing up was Walter Trier, long associated with Lilliput magazine. Hoffnung had his first cartoon published in the same publication while he was still at school.
After leaving Highgate Hoffnung studied at Hornsey College of Art but was expelled for his lack of gravity in the life class. He then attended Harrow School of Art, after which he became a schoolmaster. He was art master at Stamford School (1945–46) and assistant art master at Harrow School (1948), with an intervening and overlapping spell as a staff artist on the London Evening News. He was a staff artist to Cowles Magazines Inc in New York in 1950, and otherwise pursued a career as a freelance cartoonist. He contributed to Punch, The Strand Magazine and The Tatler, and to other British, continental, and American magazines. He also produced advertising work for Kia-Ora, Guinness, and other companies. Hoffnung was also an amateur musician and he made musical life his central subject in his cartoons for periodicals and in such books as The Hoffnung Orchestra (1955). He originated a series of humorous concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, and used the foyers for solo shows in 1951 and 1956. His sudden death on 28 September 1959 was marked in the following year by a memorial concert at the Royal Festival Hall and such concerts continue to give delight to many appreciative audiences.