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[BKARTS] Book Arts at SFPL -- Arthur Watts exhibit

CONTACT: Gabrielle Jones

November 7, 2003



San Francisco Public Library presents:




SAN FRANCISCO-San Francisco Public Library is pleased to announce the
exhibition, The Art of Arthur Watts, December 4 through January 31,
2004, in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center on the sixth floor
of the Main Library, 100 Larkin Street. The exhibition coincides with
the publication, The Art of Arthur Watts, edited by Simon Watts, son of
Arthur Watts.


Arthur Watts was a well known British illustrator and artist whose
humorous cartoons and drawings were a regular part of Punch magazine
from 1921 until his tragic death in 1935. Born in England in 1883,
Arthur Watts grew up "only wanting to draw" (and ruined all his school
exercise books with funny drawings in the margins). He entered the Slade
Art School at the age of 17, and from there he went to the Free Arts
Schools in Antwerp and then to Paris, "Where I learnt little about
drawing and a lot about living." By 1904 he was making a modest living,
drawing for such papers as the Tatler, the Bystander, Pearson's and
London Opinion. His first contribution to Punch Magazine was made in
1912; it wasn't until 1921 that his cartoons and drawings became a
regular feature for the magazine.


During the 1920's and 30's class distinctions were social fault-lines
that ran through Britain. Many of Arthur Watts' "birds-eye view"
drawings are acute observations of different accents, vocabulary, dress,
drinking habits and table manners, with his sharpest barbs aimed at the
'modern' art of the period. Never intended to be spiteful or cruel, his
humor instead poked fun at social climbers, the nouveau riche, day
trippers, and hen-pecked husbands-figures still with us today. Sadly, on
his way home from Italy Arthur Watts' life was cut short in a plane
crash in July 1935. 


The Art of Arthur Watts was compiled and edited by Simon Watts, who was
just a young boy when his father passed. The book will be available at
the Book Bay at the Main (at the Grove Street entrance) for the duration
of the exhibition. All programs and events at the Library are free and
open to the public. For information about the exhibition and related
program, please call 415-557-4277


#  #  #


Editors Note: Arthur Watt images are included. For digital images or
higher quality prints, please contact, Gabrielle Jones at 415-557-4282.
Interviews available upon request.



Asa Peavy, Program Manager

Marjorie G. & Carl W. Stern Book

Arts & Special Collections Center

San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin St.

San Francisco, CA 94102

T: 415.557.4560

F: 415.437.4849




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