- Historic Sites
“it Was Nice”
CHARLES SAXON’S fond but clear-eyed cartoons are a definitive record of suburban life in the 1960s and ’70s
November 1997 | Volume 48, Issue 7
THE NEW YORKER ’S new editor stopped buying Saxon’s cartoons, suspecting that the world he satirized had ceased to exist.
Even after death Saxon’s cartoons continued to appear (the magazine kept a number in “the bank"), and these would bring his total to nearly seven hundred published inside The New Yorker and another ninety-two on its covers. It is the covers that I find particularly impressive. He was a brilliant observer of the everyday, and there he turned commonplace activities into hilarious pantomime. Besides, his drawings look better with color. The addition of watercolor brought warmth, texture, and a needed illusion of spontaneity to his work.
Charles Saxon will remain one of the cartoonists who immediately come to mind when people think of The New Yorker . Like Helen Hokinson, who preceded him as chronicler of the upper middle class, Saxon viewed these children of privilege with a critical but forgiving eye. Perhaps he was forgiving himself as well.