Miguel Covarrubias’ Face Time

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) was a Mexican painter, writer, and anthropologist. He was also one of the most inventive caricaturists in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker back in the day. In 1923 he left Mexico for New York City on a government scholarship, and his incisive caricatures soon began to appear in these and other magazines.

The first collection of his caricatures (below), The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans, was published in 1925. Not all his subjects were excited that his sharp wit was aimed their direction, but c’est la guerre et c’est l’art. At face value, the book was rich with familiar faces distorted in unfamiliar ways. Covarrubias, as well as his contemporaries Paolo Garretto and William Cotton, was the quintessential Art Deco stylist. In his later years, he turned from caricature to anthropology, writing and illustrating books on South Sea Islands and collecting a wealth of Pre-Columbian art, which became his legacy to Mexico.

caricature 1

New York governor Al Smith.

caricature 2

Mary Pickford,

caricature 3

Harold Lloyd.

caricature 4

Babe Ruth.

caricature 5

Fanny Brice.

caricature 6

Will Rogers.

caricature 7

Irving Berlin.

caricature 8

Miguel Covarrubias.

caricature 9

Charlie Chaplin.