A Life Well-Lived | Tribute to Al Ross
By BRUCE WEBER MARCH 23, 2012
Mr. Ross, the most successful of the four, was also the best draftsman. A devotee of 20th-century painting and a painter himself — his work was in the Abstract Expressionist mode — he often referred to painters and painting in his cartoons. He had a particular affinity for Picasso’s work — one cartoon shows a figure borrowed from “Guernica,” seemingly drowning, with the caption “Incident off the Spanish coast.”
He had a full-bodied illustrator’s style at the beginning of his cartooning career that became looser, more minimalist and more suggestive. He first appeared in The New Yorker in 1937, and over the years he mastered the wry, arched-eyebrow sensibility of the magazine’s cartoons, and its signature wit, which speaks to an affluent, sophisticated readership and relies partly on erudition, partly on timeliness, partly on psychological astuteness and partly on silliness...