The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Filtering by Tag: art

In the Wake of the Emperor’s Death, A Literary Tribute and a Woodcut Illustration Appears in Illinois

Richard D. Faulkner — of Bodega, in Sonoma County, Calif. — was an 1877 graduate of Illinois Industrial University, now known as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at the university, Faulkner was the business manager of the student newspaper, The Illini.

In its March 1880 number — two months after the death of Emperor Norton — The Illini published Faulkner’s literary profile-in-tribute to the Emperor, including Faulkner's memories of having met the Emperor several times on an earlier trip to San Francisco.

The profile was accompanied by a lovely new woodcut illustration of the Emp.

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Time-Traveling With One of the Earliest Comic Illustrations of Emperor Norton

A wonderful illustration of Emperor Norton featured by the San Francisco Bulletin newspaper in 1913 and the California Review monthly in 1904 got its start as part of a triptych of “Prominent Men of San Francisco” drawn by George Frederick Keller (1846–1927) in c.1874, as the Emperor was reaching the height of his imperial influence and becoming a nationally known figure.

Not long after this, in 1876, Keller came to prominence as the chief artist of the new San Francisco Wasp, a position that briefly would earn him both fame and notoriety as one of the leading political cartoonists of his day.

The full story is in the flip — including high-resolution wonders that The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign is pleased to present online for the first time.

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New Life for an 1879 Drawing of Emperor Norton

On 9 November 1879 — just two months before Emperor Norton's death — the San Francisco Chronicle published a Sunday front-page profile of the Emperor that was based on rare interview with the Emperor himself.

The profile was accompanied by a lovely drawing of the Emperor that was reproduced 60 years later for Allen Stanley Lane's 1939 biography, Emperor Norton: The Mad Monarch of America — but that has languished since then.

The Emperor's Bridge Campaign has had a new photographic print made of the drawing and has added a hi-res scan of it to ARENA, our digital ARchive of Emperor Norton in Art.

Learn more and see the drawing, after the flip.  

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Admiral Santa Norton Claus

In 1926, San Francisco-born artist Charles William Saalburg penned an article for The New York Times, in which he recalled many of the storied figures that peopled the San Francisco of his younger years. The piece featured Saalburg's own illustrations of these characters, including an undated rendering of Emperor Norton, which he depicted — perhaps from childhood memory — as a Santa Claus figure with an admiral's hat.

Saalburg's illustration of the Emperor is included in the Paintings gallery of ARENA, the Campaign's digital Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film. 

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An Evening of Artists in Conversation About Emperor Norton

At a special event on Thursday 13 October, titled My Emperor, My Muse, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign will bring together an eclectic and interesting mix of people — artists who've created specific Emperor-themed works and others who have thought deeply about Emperor Norton — for a conversation about the Emperor's abiding cultural import as an avatar of whimsy, openness, tolerance and fair play.

We'll learn why Emperor Norton moves these people; how he has shaped their projects; why they think the Emperor remains a cultural touchstone; and the role that they think art can play in shaping and polishing the stone.

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Palmer Cox's "Emperor Norton"

In the mid 1880s, a Canadian illustrator and writer named Palmer Cox, then living in New York, started make a name for himself with a children's comic series that followed the exploits of fairy-like creatures called Brownies. But when Cox published his first book, in 1874, he was nearing the end of a 12-year stint in San Francisco. The book, a diary collection of Twain-like comic sketches, included Cox's endearing illustration of one of the city's most famous citizens.

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Emperor Norton at Ease

One of the most arresting and enigmatic images of Emperor Norton is an 1870s watercolor of him — in street clothes and smoking a pipe — that hung for more than 30 years in the library of the Bohemian Club, in San Francisco. No doubt known by the Emperor himself during his lifetime, this painting later made its way into the Overland Monthly — thanks, in part, to a member of Robert Louis Stevenson's extended family.

Here's the story of this wonderful portrait.

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