Talk of The Town

September 25th, 2015 until October 26th, 2015

10:00 am - 4:00 pm

New Yorker Covers Revisited  “Talk of the Town,” an exhibition of covers from The New Yorker and current photographs of the Westport scenes that inspired them, are on view now. The exhibition celebrates “The New Yorker in Westport,” a new book by Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley.

This will be the second exhibition in the past two years at WHS to feature vintage New Yorker covers by Westport artists. The first exhibition was one of the Society’s most popular shows. It had the same title as the new book and was curated by Potts, a member of the Society’s Honorary Advisory Council.

The new exhibition will display each magazine cover alongside its matching photograph by Westport resident Michael Goss. Potts said some of the covers are easily recognizable as depictions of places in Westport. These include Compo Beach, the Saugatuck Congregational Church, the train station and the Remarkable Book Shop. Others, she said, are the artists’ impressions of Westport, which still had a rural feel, with working farms, when some of the earlier covers were painted.

“In many respects,” Goss said, “the landmarks and lifestyles painted by The New Yorker’s artists have changed surprisingly little in the past 100 years. We still cherish our beaches, much of our architectural heritage is still in place, and for many of us, our lives still revolve around the comings and goings of our train stations that connect us to New York City.”

Goss, a retired financial executive, said his photographs are an attempt “to mimic” the images portrayed on the covers. He took 16 photographs in all. Potts said the exhibition will display approximately 20 covers along with the Goss photos.

The cover that started all these balls rolling shows a beach pavilion that is almost a perfect replica of the pavilion at Compo. It was painted by Alex Hubbell, who lived nearby. Potts was going through her copy of “The Complete Book of Covers from The New Yorker 1925-1989,” several years ago when she saw the Hubbell cover and realized that many of them were by Westport artists and reflected Westport scenes. This was the impetus for the Society’s 2014 exhibition.

That show touted the fact that between 1925, when The New Yorker was launched, and 1989, 17 artists from Westport and the surrounding area produced a remarkable 767 covers for the magazine. Commenting on the cover painting of the Compo pavilion, Potts said Goss’s photo is so close to the original that even the configurations of the clouds are almost identical.

The coffee table size “The New Yorker in Westport” features 50 full-size covers of Westport scenes. The cover art is reproduced in brilliant color on high gloss paper and gives an appreciation for the skill and imagination of these Westport artists. Each cover is accompanied by facts and stories from Westport’s history. Potts said she and Westport resident Andrew Bentley collaborated on the text. Featured artists include Charles Addams, Perry Barlow, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz, Alice Harvey, Helen Hokinson, Albert Hubbell, David Preston, Garrett Price and Charles Saxon.

Potts, the author of “Westport … a special place,” published by the WHS in 1985, is a longtime member of the Society. She has served as its vice president, secretary and member of the board of director. Though she now lives in Essex, Conn., she remains an active member of the Honorary Advisory Council. She is also the co-author of seven medical books published by Harper Collins, including “Choices,” a standard cancer reference book for lay readers.

Bentley remembers reading cartoons from the New Yorker as a child but says he didn’t start reading the magazine until around the time he moved to Westport in 1991. He has BA in economics from Harvard and an MA from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London. “The New Yorker in Westport,” for which he did the layout and design, is his first book.

“Talk of The Town” runs through Mon., Oct. 26. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, noon-4 p.m.  Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town Hall. Donations accepted. Copies of the book can be purchased online at westporthistory.org or stop in to WHS. The price is $40 and the first 1,000 copies are signed and numbered by the authors. For more information about the WHS visit its website.

Join Eve, Andrew and Lee Lorenz on October 6 at the Westport Public Library for a conversation. Details on this event may be found on the library’s website at: http://westportlibrary.org/events/westport-and-new-yorker-conversation-andrew-bentley-eve-potts-and-lee-lorenz?date=2015-10-06