Detail from [Faun playing an aulos] by Rea Irvin, from The New Yorker magazine, 1925. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress. Courtesy of the Irvin Estate. No reproduction without permission.
This is the cover illustration for The New Yorker magazine of 14 March 1925. A faun sits in left profile and plays double pipes, or an aulos, on which a green, long-beaked bird perches facing him. A rabbit rests against the faun's back, his paws crossed over his chest, as he listens to the music of the pipes. A few spring flowers and green blades of grass are scattered in the foreground. A scalloped red border decorates the left edge.
The artist's initials in the square at the lower right, "R I," represent Rea Irvin, the magazine's first art editor and designer of its distinctive layout and typeface. The first issue of The New Yorker was dated 21 February 1925, so this March 1925 issue with the faun playing his pipes was one of the first issues to be published. It was Rea Irvin who illustrated the first cover of The New Yorker with a top-hatted Regency dandy who observes a butterfly through his monocle. This figure, "Eustace Tilley," became famous as the very symbol of wit and urbanity that The New Yorker represented, and for many years was used as the anniversary cover published each February.
The image of Faun playing an aulos is reproduced here without The New Yorker masthead, according to copyright restrictions outlined by Condé Nast, publisher of The New Yorker. However, permission has been granted by The Irvin Estate for a one-time reproduction of Rea Irvin's art work, Faun playing an aulos, without the masthead, for this Web site on the prints in the Dayton C. Miller Collection, with the added request from The Irvin Estate that the image be displayed here as a "thumbnail-size" image only. Rea Irvin's Faun playing an aulos is reproduced in this Web site Courtesy of the Irvin Estate. No reproduction without permission.
About the Artist
Rea Irvin, illustrator and art editor of The New Yorker magazine, 1881-1972
Rea Irvin was born in San Francisco. He studied briefly at the Hopkins Art Institute there and provided cartoon illustrations for The San Francisco Examiner. By age 25, he had moved east and provided illustrations for Life and Cosmopolitan magazines. In 1925, he became The New Yorker magazine's first art editor. Irvin designed its layout, its column format, and its typeface. He produced hundreds of its illustrations, as well, including 169 of its covers from 1925 to 1958. Many of Irvin's drawings on which The New Yorker illustrations were based were donated to the Museum of the City of New York in 1967. Some were shown at an exhibition, The Talk of the Town: Rea Irvin of The New Yorker, at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in March 2000.
- A color reproduction of this cover is reproduced in The Complete Book of Covers from The New Yorker 1925-1989, with a foreword by John Updike. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989, p. 4. A copy of this book is in the Prints and Photographs Division. LC call number: NC974.4N48C66. [back to article]
- For reproduction permission, please contact: The Irvin Estate, c/o Molly Rea, 5 Willis Lane, Fairfax, California 94930. [back to article]
- Several online sources provided a history of The New Yorker magazine as well as biographical information about Rea Irvin and information on his inaugural cover illustration of Eustace Tilley. [back to article]