Friday, January 18, 2008


This drawing by Orson Lowell appeared as a double page spread in Life Magazine on January 28, 1909. Lowell depicts the characters waiting outside a stage door for some chanteuse to emerge after her show. The original is over 100 cm wide. In an era before television, people had fun "reading" the clues in these pictures. For example, you can tell a lot about the high class nature of the show from the posters on the wall:

Lowell gives us a psychological profile for each person in line; each has a different history and a different reason for being there.

Not everyone in line is a suitor or a chaperone. One gentleman is concealing a court summons, undoubtedly involving some lawsuit for alienation of affections.

The story is cute, but of course it takes more than cute to qualify for the famous "one lovely drawing" status. If you look closely, I think you will find some truly excellent linework here.