This exhibition highlights original drawings, paintings, objects and books by a variety of artists who have been deeply engaged in creating images for the classic repertoire of children’s books. To capture and sustain children’s imagination—whether through the evocation of good or evil—these illustrations inevitably need to have an immediate graphic impact on readers. Works by illustrator Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web, Maurice Sendak for Where the Wild Things Are, Arthur Rackham for his distinctive 1920 edition of Sleeping Beauty, a Walt Disney Studios celluloid for The Jungle Book, and many others respond to the special stylistic and technical challenges of children's illustration. Although readers’ vision of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been shaped by John Tenniel’s nineteenth-century illustrations, the exhibition also explores more recent interpretations of this fairy tale by George Bellows, Kiki Smith, and Barry Moser.
This exhibition was curated by Nancy Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of European and American Art, Prints & Drawings, 1800–1945. It is held in conjunction with Wardrobes and Rabbit Holes: A Dark History of Children’s Literature at the Hirshland Exhibition Gallery, Kroch Library, at Cornell and Birds, Beasts, and Books—Animal Illustrations in Literature at the Tompkins County Library, both through March 22.
Images from Beauties and Beasties in Children's Book... (Click an image to open slideshow)
Pages from The Sleeping Beauty (1920) by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Membership Purchase Fund, 81.084.002.›
Florence Harrison, Sir Peter Harpdon’s End, from the “Defense of Guenevere” in Early Poems of William Morris, 1914. Private collection.›
Maurice Sendak, drawing for title page of Where the Wild Things Are, 1963. Collection of Douglas Cohn.›
Garth Williams, illustration for Charlotte's Web, 1952. Gift of Douglas Cohn, BS 1979, DVM 1985, 2011.013.›
Mildred Vroom Parsons (illustrator) and Marion Vroom (rhyme author), Carlo, from a series of illustrations and rhymes. Collection of Marion Norberg.›