Daily Art Moment: M.E. Norton

The Bookman: March, M.E. Norton, sheet: 16 ¼ x 11 5/8 inches, lithograph. A portrait-oriented print depicting a large lion and a small lamb with name of the publication, “The Bookman.” and date, “March 5” in prominent lettering. At right, the words “The Bookman.” appear in orange lettering surrounded in cream on black background. The word “The” is positioned just to the right of center of center and the word “Bookman.” runs vertically along the right side. Along the bottom the date “March 5” appears in elaborate black Old English, calligraphic font outlined in cream, on an orange ground. The left two thirds of the upper portion of the print is taken up by a depiction of a lion pictured head on. It is black with white line delineating facial features and limbs. Surrounding the lion are undulating white lines on black ground that mimic wood grain and knots. The lion's tail wraps around its feet and intrudes on the date printed below. At the lion’s feet at right is a small white lamb with black detailing, viewed from the side with its mouth open. A small capital letter “N.” is located at the extreme lower right corner. A narrow black outline surrounds the images.

As the old adage reminds us, March roars in like a lion and out like lamb. This poster advertising the March 1895 edition of The Bookman makes witty reference to this saying with bold graphic style. The undulating lines around the lion seem to amplify its might roar, while the small lamb at its feet bleats mildly. Founded in February 1895, The Bookman was a product of the great publishing boom of the 1890s and is credited with establishing the first best-sellers list. This sheet is one of 47 posters recently donated to the Museum by trustee Daniel Bergsvik and his husband Donald Hastler. It was featured in The Art of Reading: American Publishing Posters of the 1890s.”

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

M.E. Norton (American, active 1890s), The Bookman: March, 1895. Lithograph. Gift of Daniel Bergsvik and Donald Hastler, 2020.42.23

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