Kirby, Rollin, “I Tell You, This Is a Dry Country.” (48 cm x 37.5cm) An original, “four columns tonight,” editorial cartoon drawn by Rollin Kirby and titled and signed by him. Rollin Kirby (1875 – 1952) enjoyed enormous popularity in various publications, Scribner’s Magazine, Harpers, Century, Collier’s, Vanity Fair, Mail, New York World, and the New York World Telegram. He studied at the Art Students’ League in New York with John Twachtman, then with James A. McNeil Whistler in Paris, whose influence is in evidence in this magnificent elephant. He was featured in the American Artist, June 1940, pp. 4-7. Kirby was the first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for “On the Road to Moscow”; in 1925 for “News from the Outside World”; and, a third time in 1929, for “Tammany!”
Walter Lippman said in his preface to Highlights: a Cartoon History of the Nineteen Twenties, a Selection of His Cartoons in the ‘World’, Kirby drew that cartoon on the same night it appeared. This is a political image, one of an obese Republican, (Taft?) clearly intoxicated, riding bareback on a magnificent elephant, holding an umbrella in his right hand and gesticulating with his left, exclaiming, in the rain, “I tell you, this is a dry country.” The word “BOOTLEG” floats just behind the rider. This anti-Prohibition figure was used by Kirby until its repeal in 1933. De-acidified, mounted on archival mat board. Fine.
Detail of an obese G.O.P. man holding an umbrella, while riding on the back of a magnificent elephant.