Stephen Kroninger
Marx Brothers Art

 More than a few years ago I began planning and collecting images for this post and now I finally got around to putting it all together. I first became enamored of the Marx Brothers back when I was a kid and New York's channel 5 ran DUCK SOUP one afternoon when I was home from school. As I dove deeper and deeper into books about I discovered an abundance of art related to their films and subsequent careers. They flourished during a fine time for caricature which fit in perfectly with my budding taste in illustration.  So here's a pile of Marx Brothers art for your edification. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. There's plenty more out there but this is a pretty good sampling.

four images above   art: William Auerbach-Levy
The Marx Brothers drawn from life by William Auerbach-Levy during their Broadway run of THE COCOANUTS.

"...During a performance of a riotous musical in which the Marx Brother were convulsing the audience, I was standing in the wings watching their antics, pad in hand. I was concentrating on the movements, oblivious to the gags, but I did hear Groucho say, "We need a quota-is there a quota in the house?" and without warning, Harpo stepped into the wings, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out before the footlights.
"Maybe you got a quarter in that long overcoat?" Groucho was saying as I found myself in the center of the stage, looking foolish and embarrassed. I'm still waiting for the chance to make Harpo bring his instrument to the studio!"----William Auerbach-Levy, The Art of Caricature, page 130.

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935) art: Al Hirschfeld
 Hirschfeld's caricatures of the Marx Brothers for MGM became iconic. An entire post could be done on his drawings of the trio. They adorned several subsequent film posters for MGM, book jackets and even became the jumping off point for other artists depicting the team.

A DAY AT THE RACES (1937)  art: Al Hirschfeld

art: Jacques Kapralik

LOVE HAPPY (1949)  art: B&W cartoons by Virgil Partch
art: Richard Henderson:  "I'll Say She Is," New York Evening Post, July 18, 1924.

"These ran on consecutive days, January 19 - 23, 1925, in the New York Sun. This was toward the very end of the Broadway run (it closed on February 7), so perhaps this was a publicity push to sell the final weeks."---source Noah Diamond

art: Roy C. Nelson for the Chicago Daily News

art: John Decker (c. 1930s) Harpo as Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy

Krazy Kat "Seeing Stars" (1932) Marx Brothers at 3:20

art: Alex Gard (1933)

Warner Brothers, Leon Schlesinger's Looney Tunes, Harmon-Ising, "Bosko's Picture Show" (1933)

art: James. Henry Dowd, PUNCH magazine (1933)
Walt Disney "Mickey's Gala Premier" (1933) art: above, concept drawing by animator Charles Couch.


art: T. Hee (1935)

art: Miguel Covarrubias (c. 1930-35) Harpo Marx

art: Salvador Dali, "Groucho as a the Shiva of big business"
art: Salvador Dali, "A party in the desert, the Marx Brothers Orchestra in a gondola"

art: Lou Hirschman (1938)
Caption: Harpo Marx as Hirshman sees him. His hat is a money belt, his hair, tomatoes; his eyes are marshmallows and his nose a potato. He has an oversize frankfurter for a mouth and forks for arms.

Walt Disney "The Autograph Hound" (1939)


art: above three by James Thurber
"Only faintly visible on the horse's ass is Groucho's image which has been almost totally erased by Groucho."----source The Marx Brothers Scrapbook

Warner Brothers Merry Melody "Hollywood Steps Out" (1941)

art: Otto Soglow (1942)


Bugs Bunny Slick Hare (1947)

Vezi mai multe video din animatie
Bugs Bunny disguised as Groucho Marx in "Slick Hare" (1947). It's been said that the character of Bugs Bunny was based on Groucho Marx with the carrot substituting for Groucho's cigar.

“GROUCHO MARX CHEERIOS HALL OF FUN POP-OUT” (1949)  from series of “8 Famous Funny Faces.” Back panel has simulated wood frame w/partial image of Groucho and pieces on side panel designed to be cut out and put together to form dimensional image.


art: Abraham Ajay (1949)

art: Thomas Hart Benton (c. late 1940s) sketch of Harpo

art: Rube Goldberg (late 1940s)

art: Ernest Hamlin Baker (1951)

art: Bob Taylor (1953)


art: Al Parker (1957)



art: hardcover: Leo Hirshfield, paperback cover: Robert Webber (1963) interior illustrations: Leo Hershfield

art: David Levine (c. 1966)


Rankin-Bass (1970)."The Mad Mad Mad Comedians."
The Marx Brothers begin at 11:43.
The show included the Marx Brothers skit, "Napoleon's Last Waterloo," which was a reworking of  a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is (1924).----source Wikipedia
Groucho himself voices Napoleon. Paul Frees provides the voices for all of the other male characters.

art: Joel Beck (1972)


1974 four record box set

art: Al Hirschfeld (1974)

1974 re-release poster

1970s promotional button for YOU BET YOUR LIFE, Groucho's 1950's game show, in syndication
art: Randall Deihl (1974)
art: Leroy Neimann (1978)
Book jacket art for "Hello, I Must Be Going, Groucho and His Friends" by Charlotte Chandler
art: David Levine (1979)

art: Andy Warhol (1980)
"This screenprint is part of Warhol’s series "Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century" a collection of portraits of historically iconic Jews, such as physicist Albert Einstein and French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt. This particular image was sourced from the 1946 film A Night in Casablanca, which starred the Marx brothers. The series of portraits first debuted in 1980 at the Jewish Museum in New York." ---source ARTspace

art: Rob Norrington (1991)
The Simpsons (2009) "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"

art: Mark Fredrickson (2012)

and finally a Groucho (with Thelma Todd) by me. This was a private commission done several years ago.

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