The Eric Carle Museum Presents: "Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration"
Amherst, MA--In its short fifteen-year history, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has welcomed into its permanent collection more than 7,300 objects ranging from vintage picture-book art to modern day illustrations. In honor of its anniversary, the Museum will present highlights from its holdings in the exhibition Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration, on view November 19, 2017 through April 1, 2018.
The exhibition features 96 artworks representing a range of time periods and media, from Harry Bingham Neilson's 1898 pen-and-ink drawing for Life's Book of Animals to Ekua Holmes's 2015 paper collage for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Iconic picture-book characters Peter Rabbit, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eloise, and Shrek will delight guests young and old. Artists represented in the exhibition include Don Freeman, Trina Shart Hyman, Dorothy Lathrop, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, David Macaulay, James Marshall, Petra Mathers, Wendell Minor, Jerry Pinkney, Uri Shulevitz, William Steig, Simms Taback, Tony DiTerlizzi, Chris Van Allsburg, Mo Willems, Garth Williams, Paul O. Zelinsky, and Lisbeth Zwerger, among others.
"I am honored to care for this collection, to preserve the legacies of artists and their contributions to children's literature," said Chief Curator Ellen Keiter. "My goal with the exhibition is to be inclusive. There are no thematic categories or chronologies to follow. It is an eclectic presentation with a focus on acquisitions of the last five years."
In addition to the variety of artwork, a selection of three-dimensional objects are also on view. A display of dummy books (handmade mock-ups of picture books) provides insight into the artistic process. As Keiter notes, "It's fascinating to study an artist's initial concepts for a picture book and see how the story and images developed and changed. Simms Taback's dummy for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is a near replica of the published book, but at a quarter of its size. Barbara McClintock's dummy for Heartaches of a French Cat begins as detailed drawings, but becomes sketchier as the story progresses." Reproductions of the original dummy books are available in the gallery for guests to handle and read.
A "Treasure Tower" in the center of the exhibition showcases some unique objects from the collection. These include Antonio Frasconi's hand-carved printing blocks, Arnold Lobel's sketchbook, Eric Carle's hard hat from the Museum's ground-breaking, and the inscribed pocket watch that Margaret Wise Brown presented to Leonard Weisgard when he won the Caldecott Medal for The Little Island. A selection of artist doodles--drawn over 15 years of artist visits, workshops, and book signings--are on view in the auditorium hallway.
In Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration, visitors can learn stories about the creation and acquisition of many works of art. A "Treasure Trivia" wall offers entertaining tidbits about the collection. (What's the biggest artwork in the collection? The oldest? The first?) Guests are also invited to create storybooks in the gallery. They may choose to illustrate their own tale or, in a Mad Libs twist, contribute or change an existing story created by other guests. As Keiter said, "We've noticed how much our visitors enjoy drawing in the galleries."
Keiter summarized, "We are thrilled to share our world-class picture-book collection with the public. Because nearly 95% of The Carle's permanent collection has come through donations, this exhibition honors the generosity of artists, families, and friends who have entrusted their beloved art to the Museum's stewardship. These gifts ensure that The Carle's mission to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books will continue for generations."
About Picture Book Art
In the last few decades, picture book art--the illustrations created for reproductions in books--has been gaining popularity in the broader fine arts world as critics and collectors have the opportunity to view the original work. Museums around the United States and abroad are recognizing that children's book illustration, which is so beautifully crafted, can draw in a young audience of art lovers. The picture book has attracted many of the world's greatest illustrators, all drawn to its complex and rewarding interplay of art and story. The Carle's exhibitions have been shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the New-York Historical Society, among others.
The Carle believes that picture books can inspire imagination, creativity, curiosity, and, empathy. Museum staff strive to deepen and expand guest's appreciation for picture book art through exhibitions, art-making, and other programs that introduce the creative process. Most of The Carle's permanent collection is work on paper and therefore fragile, requiring a carefully monitored environment in terms of temperature, humidity, and light. The Carle carefully preserves and exhibits its collection, making it available for study, and sending it to other museums nationally and internationally.
A Snapshot of The Carle's Permanent Collection
The Carle collects, preserves and conserves picture book illustration from around the world.
* The Carle has 300 artworks from Alice Bolam Preston, who lived in Massachusetts. Preston is one of the myriad of women artists who were formally trained and prolific, yet remained unsung.
* The Charles Collection comprises 440 artworks and features many Caldecott books and most major contemporary figures.
* The Steig Collection includes 1,400 pieces from William Steig's picture book archive, including sketchbooks and dummy books.
* The Lionni Family gave 78 artworks by Leo Lionni, a mentor to Eric Carle and many of his peers.
* The Lobel Collection comprises almost 500 works given to The Carle by the Lobel family, representing Arnold Lobel's 20 titles, including work from the beloved Frog and Toad series.
* Susanne Suba, born in in Hungary in 1913, gifted the Museum nearly 600 artworks. She was a regular contributor to Publisher's Weekly and illustrated five New Yorker covers beginning in the 1930's.
* Ashley Bryan, now 93, gifted The Museum nearly 600 artworks.
Members Opening Reception: Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration
November 18, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Join authors Angela DiTerlizzi and Heidi Stemple as they host a night of trivia fun about the Museum and its remarkable collection. Enjoy gourmet pizza and local craft beers, great prizes and abundant laughs!
Collection Highlights Tour with Chief Curator Ellen Keiter
November 19, 1:00 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Learn some of the fascinating stories and decisions behind the artworks selected for The Carle's 15th anniversary exhibition.
Special Sundays in the Studio: Celebrate!
November 19, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Special Storytime with Will Hillenbrand
November 19, 2:00 pm
Free with Museum Admission
The Carle is pleased to welcome back Will Hillenbrand, illustrator of more than fifty books, for a special storytime program. Hillenbrand's work is presented in the exhibition Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration. He will read from two picture books he illustrated: Jane Yolen's This Little Piggy and Maureen Wright's Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!
About The Carle
The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.
Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 40,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org
Image: Garth Williams, Cover illustration for Stuart Little [Harper & Row]. Gift of Kendra and Allan Daniel in memory of Elizabeth Shallcross Pool who respected all creatures great and small. © 1945, 1973 Garth Williams, used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers and the Estate of Garth Williams.