"What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils" (from Harper's Weekly)
Thomas Nast (American (born Germany), Landau 1840–1902 Guayaquil)
Harper's Weekly (American, 1857–1916)
November 25, 1871
sheet: 15 3/8 x 10 9/16 in. (39 x 26.9 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928
Not on view
New York’s famously corrupt power broker William M. Tweed is portrayed as a defeated Roman soldier in an image issued just after the election that broke his hold on power. As commissioner of public works, "Boss Tweed" had allied himself with cronies collectively known as Tammany Hall after their political headquarters. This ring embezzled hundreds millions of dollars from the state between 1869 and 1871. Bribes silenced critics until Nast, as leading cartoonist at Harper’s Weekly, launched a campaign to persuade the public to vote the Democrats out. His series of brilliant designs helped to sway a largely illiterate electorate. Tweed is here caricatured as a gouty Caius Marius, former consul of Rome, exiled to the ruined city of Carthage. Wearing a diadem of dollar signs and surrounded by the boots of his "whipped" allies, Tweed props himself on an empty treasury box and clutches a broken sword.
Vendor: The New York Public Library
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.
Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 147, pp. 186-187, ill.