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Sample Autograph Signature: Rea Irvin

American illustrator, cartoonist, and first art director of The New Yorker magazine. Rea Irvin (1881 - 1972) was born in San Francisco and started his career in illustration as an unpaid cartoonist for The San Francisco Examiner. His only formal training consisted of six months of study at the Hopkins Art Institute. He moved to the East Coast in 1906 and did freelance illustrations for a number of magazines. In the 1910s he did extensive work for Red Book and Green Book magazines, then later became a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan and Life (the humor magazine, not the later photojournalistic weekly) where he rose to art director. He was fired from this position in 1924 just as Harold Ross was founding The New Yorker and joined an advisory board to help with its launch while looking for a dependable job. Irvin surmised that The New Yorker would probably fold after a few issues, but stayed around to become its first art editor, creating Eustace Tilley, a smartly attired dandy with a monocle and top hat, for the cover of the magazine's debut issue the next year. Irvin's work appeared on 169 covers of the magazine during his tenure at the The New Yorker, but he also created the witty, urbane style that continues to define the publication to this day. He designed the elegant alphabet still used for its headings and the "squiggly" column rules which contribute to the magazine's uncluttered layout. Irvin's only venture into comics per se was his creation of 'The Smythes', which ran in the New York Herald Tribune during the early 1930s.

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Author: Rea Irvin

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