Lorenz Lee

New York, United States



American cartoonist, editor and cornet player born in Hackensack, New Jersey, on October 17, 1933. Lee Lorenz attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh in 1950-51 but transferred to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, receiving his B.F.A. in 1954. He then freelanced as a commercial artist, animator and cartoonist until 1958, when he became a staff cartoonist for the New Yorker. In 1973 he was appointed art editor, and in this capacity he has introduced New Yorker readers to the work of such fresh talents as Sam Gross, Lou Myers, Bill Woodman and Jack Ziegler.

As a cartoonist. Lorenz is an excellent stylist who works mainly in what appears to be pen and wash. His panels are identifiable by a firm, broad, unbroken line that suggests Peter Arno without being imitative. The wit that infuses his drawings is in the sophisticated New Yorker tradition, singling out for particular attention the corporate world, political philosophies and social cliches, all spiced with liberal dashes of lunacy. A good example is the panel featuring a parade of animals, each with a picket sign bearing a popular cliche. Thus a flirtatious duck holds a placard reading “Lord love a duck,” while a stubborn-looking horse follows with “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Bringing up the rear is a tiny beetle whose sign is left to the reader’s imagination.

Separately published collections of Lorenz’s work include Here It Comes (1968), The Upside Down King (1970) and Now Look What You’ve Done (1977). He is also the illustrator of a volume entitled The Teddy Bear Habit (1966). He has served as president of the Cartoonists’ Guild and as a member of the board of directors of the Museum of Cartoon Art. Besides his artwork, Lorenz claims to blow a pretty mean cornet—something he has been doing professionally since 1955.

the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons 1981

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