David Claypool Johnston

Thomas Nast

Richard Fenton Outcault

John T. McCutcheon

Clarence Daniel Batchelor

Carey Orr

Franklin Osborne Alexander

Roy Braxton Justus

Arthur B. Poinier

Ted Key

Boris Drucker

Gene Basset

Paul Conrad

Read the Article from the Syracuse Record


Thomas Nast (1840-1902)

"To a greater degree than any other American caricaturist, Nast broadened the graphic vocabulary of the political cartoonist by popularizing such symbols as Uncle Sam, the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant, and the Tammany tiger. Truly Nast was the father of American cartooning, for he expanded its scope and established the conventions that brought the art to maturity" (J. Chal Vinson, Thomas Nast: Political Cartoonist [Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1967]).

Click on image to enlargeHalftone portrait of Thomas Nast after a photograph by Sarony of New York.

Click on image to enlargeOriginal drawing by Thomas Nast entitled A Tammany Burr. The political corruption that gripped New York City between 1865 and 1872 at the hands of William Marcy Tweed and his Tammany Hall organization was perhaps the greatest inspiration for the work of Thomas Nast. Here the caricature of Tweed is offering chestnuts or bribes in the form of money, jobs, and liquor to secure the votes needed to maintain his highly developed system of graft.

Click on image to enlargeThe Meridian of Life from "Shakespeare's Voyage of Life" in Nast's Almanac for 1872. The figure is none other than William Marcy Tweed portrayed as a corrupt judge accepting bribes behind his back. Nast's continual attack upon Tweed and his Tammany Hall machine was a significant factor in the collapse of Tweed's regime in New York by 1872.

Click on image to enlargeUntitled original drawing by Thomas Nast. The artist depicts himself with a suitcase before a grinning government dome, as he appears to reach straight through an empty pocket in the presence of many outstretched hands. On the back of the drawing, there is the enigmatic statement that "Nast leaves and the rest got left." This may be the artist's bitter comment upon his decline in popularity at the end of his career.

This exhibition has been generously supported by the
College of Arts and Sciences and the Photo and Imaging Center

Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Library
Syracuse, NY 13244
Last modified: June 09, 2012 12:35 PM
URL: /digital/exhibits/c/cartoonists/nast.htm