A friend of mine posted a picture of an Alex Gard portrait on Facebook last week and wanted to know if any of us knew who he was. I'd post the picture, but it's not mine to post. Gard was the artist whose portraits lined the walls of the famed New York City restaurant Sardi's.
I did some quick work on my end and found that the library owned a few of Gard's books, and they were only available for viewing at the newly opened Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. I contacted a colleague asked how to set up an appointment to view these books, got the information I needed and had a time set in the reading room.
I knew it was a long shot, but it gave me an opportunity to see the new library, which is a very important collection of comic book art. The amateur researcher in me was stoked.
Arrived at the room and was told we had to put most of our belongs in a locker, all we could have at the desk was a laptop, pencil and paper. The Ipad came in handy.
There were four books total and I was allowed to view only one at a time, but this was not a big deal as the books were not very long. Gard did some very cool work, and it was also quite topical. A couple of his books were based on his military experience.
But he's noted for his celebrity portraits, and this one of Veronica Lake was quite foretelling.
How could I not resist posting this one?
It is a bit heartbreaking that he is listed as a mere gag man.
The visit proved futile, but it did not matter because this type of research is my idea of fun!
The museum section of the library is also worth a visit. All kinds of cartoon art and memorabilia is on display. I especially liked this Al Hirschfeld self portrait, complete with one Nina.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is an additional asset to the University and a substantial base of cartoon research that scholars from all over the world will be able to use.