Ruckstuhl is the stepson of the famous horse artist and author,
C.W.Anderson. He has known
"Andy" as his family called him, since 1927 when he first met
Charles' mother. Charles therefore knows
Andy well enough to portray not only his genius as an artist, but also as a
poet, a lover of music, and an expert horseman.
This book is unusual in that it is not only a biography, but also a book
not only of Andy's poetry, but also a compendium of his never-published
pen-and-ink and pencil drawings, especially of trees that he loved for their
natural geometry and design rhythm. This
book also delightfully shows his sense of humor back in the 1926-1934 era when
his cartoons were published in the New Yorker whose staff has generously
provided Mr. Ruckstuhl with copies of his early work for them. Additionally, the book contains a series of
never-published ditties or doggerels superimposed on typical Anderson cartoonism.
The content is typical of the art deco era and carries with it naughty
connotations of a society not yet immersed in problematical behavior.
In contrast to this lighter side of life, the chapter containing his
poetry and sketches of trees and Long Island expanses is
indeed emotional. These 47 short verses
were writtem for Mr. Ruckstuhl's mother each morning and were put on her
breakfast tray daily during her remainng weeks.
The short poems, in a most heart rending way, combine Andy's intense
love for his wife, Madeleine, and simultaneously portray the dying flora of the
past summer. The ebb of nature and
failing human life combine profoundly in the melancholy domain of his pen.