Marjorie Organ Henri

Flappers - Ink Illustration by Marjorie Organ Henri 1920s P2748

Regular price $1,500.00

A wickedly hilarious take on her contemporaries by the noted Marjorie Organ. These are not the sleek  creatures pictured by Al Held Jr: these girls have some heft. And are full of mischief. Men, beware. These ladies will order a steak.

Art measures 9 1/4" x 14 3/4", frame 22 1/4" x 17 1/4". A note on provenance is on the back: "Marjorie Organ, wife of Robert Henri, see file, source Hirschl & Adler", acquired from a Santa Barbara Estate. Recently included in the 2013 Armory show, "The Cartoonist As Artist", she is beginning to receive an admiring re-appraisal of her gifts.

In addition to a portrait of Marjorie by her her husband Robert Henri, we append this lovely appreciation by comic strip historian Allen Holtz:

"Marjorie Organ, one of the first female artists to plant a flag in the world of newspaper funnies, was a gorgeous creature if not an overly gifted cartoonist. When she started producing comics for Hearst's New York Evening Journal in 1902 at the tender age of 16, no doubt the job was easily secured after a little flirting with a swooning editor. Her very first continuing feature was this one, Little Reggie and the Heavenly Twins. It was also her longest-running strip by a long margin, running regularly from October 27 1902 to February 3 1905. The strip was a one-note affair with pathetic little runt Reggie in thrall to a pair of twin beauties who abuse his ardor with cold calculation. One can't help but imagine that Organ was not completely unfamiliar with the concept of leading smitten men around by the, um, nose. It doesn't help Organ's case any that one source, a biography of Robert Henri (we'll get to him in a moment), claims that Marjorie's best friend was Helen Marie Walsh, a similar gorgeous red-head, and that they were quite the madcap pair.

In 1904 Organ began dabbling in other series for the Evening Journal, but they were all short-lived. She left the paper at the end of 1905, and about this time may have enrolled in the New York School of Art. Some say that she met fine artist and ladies' man Robert Henri at the school, others say that she met the influential artist at a dinner following an art exhibition on February 3 1908. The latter story doesn't seem to hold water since the supposed meet-cute had Henri effusing over her wonderful comic strip. Since Organ had been away from the Journal for well over two years, and her only other known credit was a short-lived strip for the New York World that wouldn't start until a week later, the story seems suspect.

In any case, the famed Ash Can School portraitist Robert Henri did indeed meet, paint, woo, and wed the beauteous Marjorie Organ in 1908 and that was the end of her newspaper career. Marjorie Henri did continue to dabble in art after she married but primarily seems to have played entertainment director to Robert's never-ending string of portrait subjects. In 1929 Robert died of cancer, and was followed shortly after in 1930 by Marjorie, struck down by the same disease at age 46."

Marjorie Organ Henri (December 3, 1886 – July 1930) was an Irish-born American illustrator, cartoonist and caricaturist.

One of five children of an Irish wallpaper designer, Organ came to the United States with her family when she was 13. She briefly attended Hunter College before dropping out at age 14 to study with illustrator Dan McCarthy. In the fall of 1902, at the age of 16, she gained employment as a cartoonist in William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, the only female artist on the staff. There she authored several comic strips, the longest running being Reggie and the Heavenly Twins. Organ also published two strips, The Man Hater Club and Strange What a Difference a Mere Man Makes, in the New York World. In early 1908 she met painter Robert Henri and soon began joined a class of his at the New York School of Art. On May 5, 1908, the two were married. Although she continued to produce drawings and paintings after that, she was more frequently the model for Henri and spent much of her life orchestrating their social life.


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