Christina Malman

(1911-1959) American (English-born) Illustrator.

Christina Malman's work is distinguished by (a sometimes trenchant) wit, a slightly rounded designerly sense, and a whiff of darkness. Born in Southhampton, England in 1912, she was transplanted to New York City at two. She attended Pratt, where she made contacts and inroads into the profession. Her best (and ongoing) gig placed her on the cover of the New Yorker 35 times. Sadly, she died shy of 50; that's a not a bad tally in a short career. Malman also generated more than 500 interior spot illustrations for the same publication. 

Only covers are shown here, but I hope to remedy that over time, by rifling through old bound issues in the Walt Reed Archive. The interior black-and-whites are splendid things, ranging from figure essays in pattern and density to arch, even bleak, character studies. The drawings offer a satirical p.o.v. on the denizens of Manhattan. 

For a stiffer concoction, consider Malman's July 27, 1940 New Yorker cover. It presents a river of downward cast, behatted Jews filing past German soldiers, drawn in white on black, no less. The image stuns in retrospect. I want to know more about its reception in the U.S. (In the nascent comic book industry, Jewish creators declared war on the Nazis long before Pearl Harbor. See Michael Chabon's excellent novel, The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. Malman's traditionally Jewish surname suggests shared urgency.) Christina Malman's cover ran after German air attacks had commenced on British installations, but before the bombing of London–the infamous "Blitz"–began on September 7. 

The largest concentration of Malman's original works may be seen at the Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian's Design Museum in New York on the Museum Mile at 5th Avenue and 91st. 

Christina Malman, Cover Illustration for The New Yorker. December 1940.

Christina Malman, Cover Illustration for The New Yorker. February 1940.

Christina Malman, Cover Illustration for The New Yorker. May 1942.

Christina Malman, Cover Illustration for The New Yorker. July 1940.