image galleriescontactsubscribe

Ronald Searle

JANUARY 5, 2012
As artists, especially when we're young, we find in older artists what we're looking to find in ourselves.
If we're good, we take what we need and leave the rest as being too personal to them to be of use to us.
When I was young, that person for me was Ronald Searle.
It wasn't his style that I wanted. I got over that quickly.
It was the witness he bore to the times we lived in.
In his drawings as a Japanese prisoner of war...
In his drawings of the Eichmann trial for Life Magazine...
In his travel drawings for books and for Holiday Magazine...
In his satirical drawings for magazines such as Punch...
In his political drawings...
And in the London character sketches he did for books such as The Big City (1958)...
In pictures like these, he showed the breadth and depth of what art could do and for me, that served as the jumping off point for my own identity as an artist.

We all owe a debt to the past. To some people we owe more than to others. I owe a big debt to Ronald Searle, who died over the weekend at 91, almost the same age as my mother.


I never met him and we corresponded only once, some years ago, when I wrote him to say roughly what I've written here. But I never needed more from him than that. With pictures like these he became a part of me many years ago.


These drawings are all Ronald Searle’s, of course, and are protected by his copyrights. 


The New York Times obituary by Steve Heller

© 2024 Brad Holland