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A Salute to the Art of Illustration
June 28 through August 21, 2004
Second Floor Gallery
Curated by William J. Dane
An exhibition relating to the development of contemporary and historic illustration is on view in the 2nd Floor Gallery of The Newark Public Library from June 28th through August 21st, 2004.
Cover from Blood Song:  A Silent Ballad by Eric Drooker.

Featured in the survey are a few new graphic novels along with those of Frans Masareel from Belgium and Lynd Ward from New Jersey who both represent an earlier generation of artists who told stories solely by means of graphic art images with no text except for a title. The current craze for graphic novels is championed by young readers who recall classic comics with special enthusiasm and nostalgia.

Little Red Riding Hood by Gustav Doré

Vintage stories for children sometimes take on a timeless quality and become the classics of today. "Little Red Riding Hood" is one such example and the show includes a half dozen images by different artists of the small girl on a hazardous journey to visit her grandmother. When the wolf appears everything goes wrong and illustrators have emphasized the grizzly problems in realistic images. More lovable is "Winnie The Pooh" written in 1926 by London born, Alan Alexander Milne. According to a "New York Times" article on April 1, 2004, the business world spin-off of Pooh items is a multi-billion dollar annual industry these days triggered by the intense affection of young readers who want more of Pooh in their daily routines. 

Illustration from Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit is also a source of delight. The author, Beatrix Potter, preserved over 4,000 acres and 14 working farms in perpuity in England’s Lake District because of her deep regard for animals and natural settings uncluttered with sprawl and advertising signboards.

Beatrix Potter

When LIFE magazine was first published in November of 1936, it created a sensation for American readers. The precise text along with solid emphasis on photography as illustration was a revelation and the magazine changed popular news journalism forever. LIFE continued as a weekly publication for 1,864 issues. 

Reproduction of original LIFE cover.

Another tribute is paid to "Harper’s Weekly" with absorbing line engravings and drawings by artists of the late 19th century as well as "MATRIX", a notable illustrated periodical on book production and printing arts. This beautiful magazine has been published since 1981 by The Wittington Press in Herefordshire, England and is directly relevant to the 550 year history of the printing arts many examples of which are found in research libraries such as The Newark Public Library’s Special collections.

Cover of Matrix 17, Winter 1997.

Pop-ups have unlimited appeal to children as well as to adult book enthusiasts of all ages. A new group of pop-ups is on view including the work of Robert Sabuda who is regarded as "the king of pop-ups" with three-dimensional paper engineering he creates in his Manhattan studio.

Other visual treats include drawings and an original print by Robert Rauschenberg to illustrate his images in watercolors, chalk, crayon, pencil and erasures for Dante’s "Inferno". An album of chromolithographed plates to be used by seed salesmen in 1888 as they visited farmers and gardeners to sell their packets to a variety of customers including nurseries around the country. The color illustrations show the incredible work of Mother Nature when America was chiefly populated by rural residents in small towns and villages. Another segment of the exhibit shows "The Iconography of Manhattan Island" as researched and published by Isaac N.P. Stokes in six volumes issued from 1915 to 1928. This is the definitive illustrated reference work forming the finest historical record of the long history of Manhattan-now universally regarded as a world capital.

The Lindy Hop by Al Hirschfeld from Harlem as seen by Hirschfeld, 1941.

The Library’s tribute to the power and diversity of notable illustrations is curated by William J. Dane, Supervisor of Special Collections at The Library and it is on view during regular Library hours without entrance fees of any kind. The exhibit is scheduled to amplify another Library show honoring the works of The Crews Family: Donald Crews, Ann Jonas, and Nina Crews. Donald Crews who was born in Newark and is a Caldecott Award winner for his 1978 book, "Freight Train". There is also a salute to Dr. Seuss, the celebrated creator of illustrated children’s stories whose 100th birthday was an occasion of national rejoicing earlier this year. The three exhibits will be on view from July 6 through August 21st, 2004 and they are presented to show the enormous diversity of images and stories created by illustrators to enrich the lives of all who are fortunate enough to discover them. The curator hopes that "there is something of joy and enrichment for all who visit The Newark Public Library during the summertime months of 2004". For hours of opening and additional information, please call 973-733-7745.


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