Devera Jean Ehrenberg, a longtime artist for The New Yorker, died on July 25, 2020 in Gloucester, Mass. from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was 79.
Born in New York City on October 27, 1940, she grew up in Rye, New York, where her parents, Anne Scoville and Myron Ehrenberg, had moved after World War II to join a small colony of progressive artists and writers. Her father was a photographer who served with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
During the 1960s, Ms. Ehrenberg attended the Art Students League of New York and began drawing small “spots” used as filler by newspapers, such as The Washington Post, and magazines, such as The New Yorker. Her drawings were precise, decorative, and whimsical. Encouraged by Lee Lorenz, art editor for The New Yorker, she began to do covers, publishing ten during the 1980s and 1990s.
Ms. Ehrenberg was married in the 1960s to Richard L. Currier, a noted anthropologist, and in the 1970s to Edward Kaim, a businessman. Both marriages ended in divorce. Thereafter, she supported her “art habit” with a succession of temporary office jobs in banks and offices, while living in a succession of third-floor walkups in Cambridge, Brookline, and finally Gloucester. There, inspired by the light and reflections from the water, she took up her father’s art. Her photos, like her drawings, were also precise and whimsical, and they were often shown in Gloucester galleries.
Ms. Ehrenberg, a gentle soul, was predeceased by her brother, Jonathan Ehrenberg, and leaves her brother Jesse Ehrenberg of Albuquerque, N.M. and a niece, Dawn Eden of Joplin, MO.