The Life and Art of Mary Petty

November 5–December 15, 2019

Mary Petty, Thanksgiving Dinner, The New Yorker Magazine, cover illustration, November 25, 1944. Watercolor and ink on paper.

Cartoonist Mary Petty (1899-1976) is known for the witty and pointed cartoons of the upper class of early 20th century America that appeared in The New Yorker for 39 years. Some of Petty’s earliest illustrations featured independent, free-thinking women, while her later works concentrated on the lifestyles and attitudes of inherited wealth and her invented Peabody family. Petty was married to fellow New Yorker cartoonist Alan Dunn, whose works are also included in the exhibition. Dunn’s works, which comment on architecture, politics, and social issues, complement Petty’s observations on modern life. The spirit of their independent compositions, unified by a shared sense of humor, is timeless.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Joan Vinson and Peggy Sue Atterbury.

Additional support is provided by Tara Balfe Clifford/Cliftara Bed ‘n Breakfast, Madeleine and George Hughes, Pamela McKee, and Eric and JanElaine Smith.

The Life and Art of Mary Petty is organized by the Syracuse University Art Galleries.

More Works by Mary Petty

Mary Petty, Fay Modeling Ermine Cape, The New Yorker Magazine, cover illustration, January 10, 1953. Watercolor and ink on paper.
Mary Petty, Fay Replacing Bulb in Chandelier, The New Yorker Magazine, cover illustration, September 24, 1955. Watercolor and ink on paper.​​​​​
Mary Petty, Fay Trying Archery, The New Yorker Magazine, cover illustration, July 15, 1950. Watercolor and ink on paper.