After watching the 1942 revival of Hedda Gabler, starring Katina Paxinou, Helen Morley, and Ralph Forbes, James Montgomery Flagg created this watercolor gag sketch, which gently roasts his friend Cecil Humphreys for his acting in the role of Judge Black. The 1892 Henrik Ibsen play is a deeply psychological look at the life of a newlywed woman with a deep drive to destruction that is represented by a fire burning in the hearth of her house. This inventive artwork plays with the themes of the play, and the heavy accent of the Greek actress who performed the leading role.
“Meesta ‘umprheys w’y you walk troo your part?” Paxinou asks, accusing her fellow actor of a flat performance. Defending himself, Humphreys (seen on left hand side of image) says “dear lady, haven’t you noticed the sign WALK don’t run in case of fire?”
Ralph Forbes is depicted standing behind the pair giggling.
The artwork is signed “To Cecil–Monty after seeing Hedda Gabler.” Painting is framed behind glass in a handsome period frame.