The Life and Art of Mary Petty

Mary Petty began her career with The New Yorker magazine in 1927. Over her four decades with the publication she created a singular style of cartoon illustration that was known for its gentle satire of New York City’s gentility. 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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