Appreciating the Superpen of Edward Sorel


Rob Stolzer shares some thoughts about, and art from, Edward Sorel.

The Babe Ruth portrait below appeared in the Washington Post Book World, likely in the 1960s. You can easily see the loose structure in the work, capturing the soft architecture of Ruth’s figure, as Sorel allowed the pen to find the form. There is so much wonderful movement, allowing the piece to capture the mass of Ruth’s form, all the while maintaining the energy of the line.

The cartoon below appeared in the May 16, 1977 issue of the Village Voice, and is titled “Male Imperialist Pig”. This is Sorel at his biting best, slinging satirical ink in a way that conveys movement, body language, space, weight and more. You’ll note the use of word balloons in this cartoon, which makes sense as Sorel was not dealing with white space, and needed the balloons to create contrast against the space. The word balloons also appear to make the argument more physical, as the words literally hang in the air.


The artist’s recent biography gives Rob Stolzer, art teacher and collector, reason to fill a column
(“this is not a review”) acknowledging “the ink-slinging goodness that is Edward Sorel.”