Commemorating the 2016 presidential season, Presidents, Politics, and the Pen: The Influential Art of Thomas Nast will feature over thirty editorial cartoons by the “Father of the American Cartoon,” published by the provocative Harper’s Weekly between 1864 and 1884. These vibrant, influential illustrations penned by Thomas Nast (1840-1902) reflect his pointed opinions on presidential candidates during six different election years.
Known as “The President Maker,” Nast’s influential cartoons proved crucial in affecting the outcome of presidential elections, which his favored candidates were known to win. Nast held presidential-hopefuls accountable for the issues of the day, from political corruption to imperialism, inflation, and civil rights. His well-crafted imagery includes identifiable caricatures, scathing satire, and creative references to Shakespearean tales and Greek mythology. Nast’s representations of the donkey and elephant as symbols for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, continues to endure more than a century later. Original artworks and ephemera will be on view.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website