VISUAL BURLESQUE Ralph Barton and Puck Magazine Kristine Somerville Ralph Barton (1891–1931), American illustrator and cartoonist, 1926. © Ralph Barton/PVDE/Bridgeman Images Jazz Age illustrator Ralph Barton sported an exaggerated urbanity. El- egant and handsome, with dark hair, blue eyes, and a slight frame, he dressed in flawlessly tailored suits with striped shirts, matching collars, a cravat, and suspenders. Oe ft n he carried a walking stick and in his wake left a trace of Chanel No. 22. He bought the finest champagne, wine, and cigarettes and in his work was particular about pens, paper, and ink. Ae ft r his first visit to France in 1915, he returned a full-bore dandy, outfopping the French. But his cultivated sophistication and as- pirations were born of provincialism. Even when he lived in a penthouse filled with rare books and art, was one of the highest-paid illustrators in New York City, and married and dated an array of beautiful, rich women, he never stopped fighting his way out of the “Kansas City mud.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Barton, born in 1891 in Kansas City, Missouri, was the youngest of four children. His father, Abraham, a farm boy from a family of eleven, had
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jul 31, 2019
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