[Prokofiev, Sergei. (1891–1953)] Norkin, Sam. (1917–2011)

"Prokofiev under the Kremlin" - Original Cartoon Drawing

Striking original drawing of the great composer, shown playing the piano in the shadow of the Kremlin, which has been transformed into a giant metronome. Drawn by the noted American illustrator and caricaturist Sam Norkin in 1949 for the The Reporter Magazine. Ink on card, with separate pieces of paper taped around the image to frame it. Captioned in pencil at the foot. Image size 4.5 x 6.25 inches, overall size 9.75 x 12 inches (24.8 x 30.5 cm).

In early 1948, the Soviet Politburo issued a resolution denouncing Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Myaskovsky, and Khachaturian of the crime of "formalism", described as a "renunciation of the basic principles of classical music" in favor of "muddled, nerve-racking" sounds that "turned music into cacophony." Eight of Prokofiev's works were banned from performance. Such was the perceived threat behind the banning of the works that even works that had avoided censure were no longer programmed. Prokofiev's fortunes steadily declined in the next years: his wife was arrested for espionage, he accumulated serious debt, and his health deteriorated. He died on the same day as Josef Stalin: March 5, 1953.

New York-born cartoonist Samuel Norkin specialized in theater and arts caricatures for more than seven decades. His drawings of theater, opera, ballet and film celebrities appeared in Variety, Backstage, The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and many other publications. He is best-known for his long tenure providing theatrical illustrations for the New York Herald Tribune (1940–1956) and covering performing arts for the Daily News (from the 1950's to the 1980's.) His highly engaging drawings have been said to "metaphorically grab the reader-onlooker by the shoulders." Because Norkin would draw the performers in rehearsal, his caricatures often served as an effective advance press for shows as they went on the pre-Broadway circuit. (15277)

Classical Music