With a Wink and a Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age
June 25, 2016 - January 8, 2017
features 74 rare original drawings created for Puck
magazine, as well as published cartoons and over 20 vintage publications.
, the pioneering magazine of the Gilded Age, sought to change the world through the power of laughter. Shakespeare’s mischievous faerie Puck and his observation on human folly — “What fools these mortals be!” he cries in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
— were featured on the masthead, and capture perfectly the aims of Puck. Created by Austrian immigrant and cartoonist Joseph Keppler, Sr. in 1876, Puck
began as a German language publication. The first English edition came out in 1877, and for the next 40 years, the magazine’s talented artists left no stone in society unturned — gleefully ridiculing everything from religion to politics, money, domesticity, and other aspects of daily American life.
’s editors encouraged creative experimentation, and hired cartoonists who pushed the limits of the art form. Puck
was the first magazine to use full-color lithographs on the front, back, and centerfold, with bold black and white cartoons inside. It published work by the era’s most distinguished illustrators, and also proved a training ground for extraordinary new talent. With a Wink and a Nod
features original black and white drawings in a variety of styles by Samuel Ehrhart, Louis Dalrymple, Louis Glackens, Franklin Howarth, Frederick Opper, William Rogers, and more.
The pages of Puck
are a unique vantage point for understanding life in Gilded Age America. During this period Chicago banker Samuel M. Nickerson and his family built and lived in the ‘Marble Palace’, now the Driehaus Museum. The Nickersons may have laughed with recognition when Puck
poked fun at the wealthy classes, or enjoyed the special 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition edition, which Keppler moved to Chicago briefly to produce. On view in the restored second-floor galleries — once the Nickersons’ private bedrooms — With a Wink and a Nod
offers an immersive experience of the culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.