Yale Bulletin and Calendar

February 1, 2002Volume 30, Number 16

Artist John Stephan, who founded The Tiger's Eye magazine with his wife, poet Ruth Walgreen Stephan, created this work, which appeared on the cover of Issues 5-8.

Tribute to The Tiger's Eye recalls
'The Art of a Magazine'

In 1947, a new magazine called The Tiger's Eye made its debut with the goal of being "a bearer of ideas and art."

Though only published in nine quarterly issues from 1947 to 1949, the magazine was widely read and considered a lastingly influential magazine of art and literature.

In its new exhibit, "The Tiger's Eye: The Art of a Magazine," the Yale University Art Gallery brings together about 60 works of art -- paintings, sculpture and works on paper -- by artists featured in the magazine, including Joán Miró, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and others. Copies of the magazine will also be on view.

"Hundreds of so-called little magazines were published in English in the first half of the 20th century," says Pamela Franks, the Florence B. Selden Fellow at the Yale Art Gallery and curator of the exhibition. "They were experimental, idealistic and usually reached a small, intellectual readership. The Tiger's Eye was one of the few that took visual art as seriously as literature."

The magazine was started by Ruth Walgreen Stephan, a poet and the daughter of drugstore magnate Charles Walgreen, along with her husband, painter John Stephan. Despite their lack of publishing experience, they knew many established and avant-garde writers and artists who became contributors to the magazine.

The magazine's title comes from William Blake's famous poem, "The Tyger." As part of the publication's focus on the creative process, artists' ideas were frequently presented in proximity to images of their work. One unusual feature of the magazine was that authors' and artists' names were separated from their work, forcing the readers, as the poet William Carlos Williams wrote, "to make actual and immediate sense contacts with the work of art." Contributors were instead credited in the "Tale of the Contents" in the centerfold.

This method of separating the works from their artists' names is used in a book accompanying the exhibition. Titled "The Tiger's Eye: The Art of a Magazine," the work is written by Franks.

Franks will presenta gallery talk about the exhibit on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 12:30 p.m. The Lydia Winston Malbin Lectures, a five-part series of talks by visiting scholars, are also being offered in conjunction with "The Tiger's Eye" and other art gallery exhibitions (click here for more on the series). Other events being held in connection with the exhibit will be listed in future issues of this newspaper.

The exhibition will be on view through March 30. It was made possible with loans from numerous individual collectors and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It is supported by the Florence B. Selden Endowment and donations from Mrs. John Stephan, the David T. Langrock Foundation, Susan Morse Hilles and an anonymous donor.

The Yale Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (with extended hours to 8 p.m. on Thursdays), and Sunday, 1-6 p.m. An entrance for persons using wheelchairs is located at 201 York St., with an unmetered parking space nearby. For recorded general or program information, call (203) 432-0600 or visit the gallery's website at www.yale.edu/artgallery.


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