The Life and Art of Mary Petty

Over her four decades with The New Yorker, Mary Petty developed a cartoon style characterized by its gentle satire of New York City’s well-to-do. Central to her imagery were the characters of Mrs. Peabody and her maid, Fay. Of Fay, Petty once wrote, “I have named her ‘Fay’ as that name seemed the one that most nearly expressed her quality- something rather gossamer and fragile….yet very occasionally experiencing the unexpected touch of a benevolent zephyr which wafts her to the heights of timid happiness.” Mary Petty used these two characters to explain, in a humorous vein, the foibles of New York’s elite. Working in watercolor, Petty meticulously drew her characters and scenes using a limited palette of roses, blues, greens, browns, and gold.

Number of objects: 30
Installation Space: 175 linear feet
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