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Edward Sorel

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Edward Sorel

Edward Sorel
Born Edward Schwartz[1]
(1929-03-26) March 26, 1929
Bronx, New York
Nationality American
Education Cooper Union
Known for Illustration
Notable work Sorel’s Unfamiliar Quotations
Sorel’s News Service
Awards full list

Edward Sorel (born Edward Schwartz, 26 March 1929, the Bronx) is an The Nation, New York Magazine and The Atlantic, his work is today seen more frequently in Vanity Fair. He has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of America's foremost political satirists".[2][3][4] As a lifelong New Yorker, a large portion of his work interprets the life, culture and political events of New York City. There is also a large body of work which is nostalgic for the stars of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood when Sorel was a youth. Sorel is noted for his wavy pen-and-ink style, which he describes as "spontaneous direct drawing".[5]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Exhibitions 3
  • Awards 4
  • Bibliography 5
    • Children's books 5.1
    • Collaborations 5.2
    • Illustrated 5.3
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Interviews 7.1
    • Reviews 7.2

Early life

Sorel grew up in the Bronx, son of Jewish immigrants.[2] His father was a door-to-door dry goods salesman, while his mother worked full-time in a hatmaking factory.[5] Sorel became serious about drawing when a case of double pneumonia confined him to bed for nearly a year.[2] He attended the High School of Music and Art, and graduated from the Cooper Union in 1951.[2]


Sorel was a co-founder of Push Pin Studios with Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, and Reynold Ruffins in 1953.[2]

In 1956 Sorel went freelance.[5] His first published illustration was A War for Civilization was sold to the satirical magazine The Realist;[6] in 1961. He then sold the magazine a cartoon satirizing the glamor of the Kennedy family, an early example of his parody movie posters. Victor Navasky appointed him art director for the satirical magazine Monocle in 1963.[2] In the later 1960s he produced full-color satirical bestiaries for the left-wing Ramparts, and a series called “Sorel’s Unfamiliar Quotations” for The Atlantic. A profile of Sorel in Time 15 October 1968 was instrumental in selling “Sorel’s News Service” by King Features to 44 syndicated newspapers[2] for 14 months from later 1969 through 1970. Clay Felker founded New York magazine in the late 1960s and Sorel was a regular contributor, becoming art director in the late 1970s.[2]

Sorel also contributed covers and features to early issues of National Lampoon. When Felker bought the Village Voice in 1974 Sorel was given a weekly spot there, which lasted for most of the 1970s. By the mid-1980s Sorel moved to The Nation, now edited by his old colleague Navasky, and to which he contributed for the next decade. Sorel joined The New Yorker in late 1992 contributing a cover to the first issue edited by new editor Tina Brown. He has contributed many illustrations, features, and 44 covers to The New Yorker.

He has contributed many features to Vanity Fair. His art has also appeared on the covers of Harper's Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, Esquire, Time, American Heritage, Atlantic Monthly. Sorel also had a lengthy association with Penthouse, often lavishly reworking earlier drawings and ideas from his work for Village Voice and The Nation.

In 2007 he completed the celebrated mural for the Waverly Inn in New York's Greenwich Village, which was published as a book, The Mural at the Waverly Inn in 2008. In 2009 he completed the mural for the redesigned Monkey Bar Restaurant in New York City.

As a writer, Sorel has reviewed books and exhibitions of fellow cartoonists and illustrators for such publications as the New York Times, the New York Observer, and American Heritage magazine.

Sorel has been married twice. He met his second wife, Nancy Caldwell, in 1963 at a Quakers Morningside Friends Meeting, and married her in 1965. Sorel and Caldwell have collaborated on two books, with Caldwell writing the text and Sorel doing the illustrations.[2] Sorel has four children: Madeline Sorel Kahn, Leo Sorel,[5] Jenny Sorel, Katherine Sorel; and five grandchildren: Sabella Kahn, Walter Sorel, Adam Sorel, Saskia Kahn, and Dulio Sorel.

In February 2010 he was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation's Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.[7]


In 1998 the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, devoted several rooms to an exhibition of his caricatures. Other one-man shows include the Graham Gallery and the Davis and Langdale Gallery in New York City, the Susan Conway Gallery in Washington, DC, the Art Institute of Boston, Galerie Bartsch & Chariau in Munich, Germany, and Chris Beetles Gallery in London.


He is a recipient of the Auguste St. Gaudens Medal for Professional Achievement from Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hanover, Germany.[8] He received the National Cartoonist Society Advertising and Illustration Award for 1993.[9] In 2001, Sorel was given the Hunter College James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001 the Art Directors Club of New York elected him to their Hall of Fame,[5] the first cartoonist since John Held Jr. to be so honored.[8] Ed Sorel serves as an Honorary Board Member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. [10]

In 2011, the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan honored Sorel as part of their Masters Series, an award and exhibition that honors great visual communicators.[3]


  • How to be President: Some Hard and Fast Rules (Grove Press, 1960)
  • Moon Missing (Simon & Schuster, 1962)
  • Sorel's World's Fair (McGraw-Hill, 1964)
  • Making the World Safe for Hypocrisy (Swallow Press, 1972)
  • Superpen: the Cartoons and Caricatures of Edward Sorel (Random House, 1978)
  • Unauthorized Portraits (Alfred A. Knopf, 1997)
  • Literary Lives (Bloomsbury, 2006)
  • Just When You Thought Things Couldn't Get Worse: The Cartoons and Comic Strips of Edward Sorel (W.W. Norton, 2007)
  • The Mural at the Waverly Inn: A Portrait of Greenwich Village Bohemians (Pantheon, 2008)

Children's books

  • The Zillionaire's Daughter (Warner Juvenile Books, 1989)
  • Johnny-on-the-Spot (M.K. McElderry Books, 1998)
  • The Saturday Kid, with Cheryl Carlesimo (M.K. McElderry Books, 2000)


  • Word People, by Nancy Caldwell Sorel (American Heritage Press, 1970)
  • First Encounters: a Book of Memorable Meetings, by Nancy Caldwell Sorel (Knopf, 1994)


  • King Carlo of Capri, by Warren Miller (Harcourt, Brace & Comp., 1958)
  • Pablo Paints a Picture, by Warren Miller (Little, Brown, 1959)
  • The Goings-on at Little Wishful, by Warren Miller (Little, Brown, 1959)
  • Gwendolyn the Miracle Hen, by Nancy Sherman (Golden Press, 1961)
  • Gwendolyn and the Weathercock by Nancy Sherman (Golden Press, 1963)
  • What's Good For A Five-Year-Old, by William Cole (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969)
  • The Duck in the Gun, by Joy Cowley (Doubleday, 1969)
  • Jay Williams' Magical Storybook (American Heritage Press, 1972)
  • The Pirates of Penzance, by Ward Botsford (Random House, 1981)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk, by Eric Metaxas (Rabbit Ears Books, 2006)
  • The Complete Fables of la Fontaine: A New Translation in Verse, by Jean de la Fontaine and Craig Hill (Arcade Pub., 2008)
  • Certitude: A Profusely Illustrated Guide to Blockheads and Bullheads, Past and Present, by Adam Begley (Harmony Books, 2009)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grimes, William. "Art; The Gripes of Wrath: 25 Years of Edward Sorel". The New York Times. (May 16, 1993).
  3. ^ a b "The Masters Series: Edward Sorel". Visual Arts Journal. Fall 2011. School of Visual Arts. Page 32
  4. ^ Birnbaum, Robert. "An Illustrated History". The Morning News. (June 25, 2009)
  5. ^ a b c d e "Edward Sorel," Hall of Fame biography
  6. ^ Paul Krassner (2005) One hand jerking: reports from an investigative satirist, p.33
  7. ^ "Honorary FFRF Board Announced". Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  8. ^ a b "Edward Sorel": Author Bios, The Nation magazine website. Accessed Sept. 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "NCS Awards," National Cartoonists Society website. Accessed Sept. 12, 2010.
  10. ^ "FFRF Honorary Board" FFRF website accessed Dec. 18, 2012.

External links

  • Official website
  • "Unauthorized Portraits: The Drawings of Edward Sorel", an exhibition July 2, 1999 to January 2, 2000 at the National Portrait Gallery.
  • Art Directors Club 2002 biography and tribute by R.O. Blechman, and images of work
  • Vanity Fairslideshow of work for
  • The Atlanticcontributions to


  • Discussion between Edward Sorel, Jules Feiffer, and David Levine about left-wing politics and cartoons
  • The Atlantic1997 interview with
  • The Guardian2006 interview with
  • Literary Lives2006 interview about
  • 2008 Interview
  • Interview about Waverly Inn mural
  • Interview about Monkey Bar mural


  • Review of The Undressed Art: Why We Draw
  • Review of 18th century caricature
  • Review of 19th century caricature
  • Review of caricaturist Covarrubias
  • Review of caricaturist William Auerbach-Levy
  • Review of Krazy Kat cartoons
  • Review of cartoonist Gluyas Williams
  • Review of cartoonist Charles Saxon
  • Review of cartoonist James Thurber
  • Review of Charles Addams
  • Review of cartoonist Herblock
  • Review of Dr Seuss
  • Review of William Steig
  • Review of Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Review of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer by Ben Katchor
  • Article about the film Casablanca
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