Tuesday, January 4, 2011

About Fairy Tale Art: Illustrations from Children's Books

Last week I headed south with my husband and parents to explore several cities including some museum visits. We planned five museums but only got to visit four since the last and final one was closed when we arrived despite listings stating otherwise. One of the museums we visited was the Mobile Museum of Art where Fairy Tale Art: Illustrations from Children's Books was on display. It's still on display this week according to the break down schedule although it officially closed yesterday. The exhibit's continuing schedule is as follows:

January 28 - March 27, 2011
City of Lake Charles
Lake Charles, Louisiana

April 24 - June 19, 2011
The Haggin Museum
Stockton, California

July 10-September 15, 2011
Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan

November 4-December 9, 2011
Selby Gallery/Ringling School of Art & Design
Sarasota, Florida

Here's a description from the exhibition company:

Fairy Tales offer a magic carpet ride, to a timeless, enchanted, dreamlike world. The origins and history of fairy tales reaches back to ancient times. These magical stories were told and retold by storytellers in civilizations of China, Egypt and India. Women recounted the stories from generation to generation. Often the heroine was given magical powers and miraculous rescues. For years the stories were told to adults to uplift them from the world of drudgery by sharing a glimpse of another land. Before these spoken tales became recorded narratives, the details of the stories were modified in the retelling over centuries. The fairy tales and folk tales featured in the exhibit celebrate stories handed down through the ages that echo the wisdom of past cultures and honor the symbolic and metaphoric language of the stories. Traditional stories such as: The Firebird, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood will be included. Along with modern versions such as Cinderella's Dress, Child of the Faerie: Child of the Earth and the Hungry Coat. Prize winning contemporary artists whose art is featured include: Kinuko Y. Craft, Trina Schart Hyman, Barry Moser, Demi, Susan Paradis, Marilee Heyer, Jane Dyer and Jim LaMarche.

Curated by Sylvia Nissley

Contents: Fifty-nine original illustrations and educational materials
The exhibit is small, 59 pieces is not as large as it may sound. But I am very happy I saw it.  One of the museum employees told me it has been very successful and a big draw for school groups which of course made me happy. I also want to praise the museum itself which was lovely and one of our favorites of the trip. The artwork is displayed beautifully in it and the curators onsite with the permanent collections are talented and think a little outside the box for the normal museum, especially a smaller one, with some excellent lighting and display choices.  We were all very impressed. It was also the cleanest museum I have ever visited. Not that museums are dirty but there can be a tinge of grunge to many and this one positively sparkled on a rainy day.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight each of the eight illustrators in the exhibit for those who may not have a chance to visit it at one of its upcoming locations. The beauty of the work is that beautiful reproductions are just a library or bookstore away.  (Or if you are me, you can turn around and pull several of them off your shelves.) Still, I relished seeing the details of the execution that don't always translate into the books. So for the next eight days I will feature each of the illustrators and their work.

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