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Exhibit of New Yorker covers will explore the ‘Lighter Side of Music’

May 11, 2010

John O’Brien’s illustration “Symphony of Strings: Rich in Fundamental” is among the New Yorker covers on display.

An exhibit of humorous New Yorker covers on musical subjects will open at the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments on Wednesday, May 12.

Titled “The Lighter Side of Music: New Yorker Covers (1931-2010),” the show features the works of 23 New Yorker artists, including Rose Silver, Abe Birnbaum, Perry Barlow, Mary Petty, Robert Tallon, William Steig, and Peter De Seve.

Among the covers on view are Rea Irvin’s depiction of a musician practicing his large double bass within the confines of a small hotel room (Sept. 17, 1949) and Paul Degen’s rendering of a soaring skyscraper inspired by the shape of a grand piano (Nov. 12, 1990).

Scenes of symphony orchestras on-stage, off-stage, or in the pit have been a frequent subject of the magazine’s cover illustrators for eight decades, as seen in differing interpretations by Abner Dean, Julian De Miskey, Roger Duvoisin, Peter Arno, Arthur Getz, Charles Elmer Martin, John O’Brien, and J.J. Sempé.

All of the covers on display are from the collection of Susan E. Thompson, curator of the museum. The exhibit will remain on view through Nov. 18.

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, located at 15 Hillhouse Ave. in New Haven, is open 1-4 pm Tuesday-Friday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, September through June. It is closed July and August. Admission is free.

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