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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Rose O'Neill (1878–1944). Kewpies. And in Foozleville They Don't Believe in Ghosts! October 12, 1935. Ink over graphite underdrawing with scraping out and paste-on. Gift/purchase, 2001. Art Wood Collection of Caricature and Cartoon, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.00.00)

Comical Cherubs

Rose O'Neill introduced her signature characters, the Kewpies, in the Ladies Home Journal in 1909. In this lushly drawn Sunday page, they prepare for Halloween by convincing others that ghosts do exist. The lengthy, extremely detailed notes handwritten to her colorist, "Miss Hess," attest to O'Neill's devoted efforts to realize her artistic vision. In 1913, she patented her Kewpie doll, which, combined with spin-off products, made her famous and very wealthy. Unusually prolific and multitalented, O'Neill produced thousands of drawings for Puck magazine, novels, and advertisements.