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"The Land of Make-Believe: Original Children’s Book Illustrations"
2005-08-09 until 2006-02-26
Mint Museum of Art
USA United States of America
Illustrations for children’s books are a very special art form, and the only area of artistic expression created specifically with children in mind. This exhibition celebrates the “land of make-believe,” the imaginative and accomplished works of art that have been created for the best children’s literature. The Land of Make-Believe exhibition features roughly 40 artworks from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County’s collection, including works by some of the most respected and accomplished children’s illustrators in the United States, Tomie de Paola, David Wisniewski, James Ransome, Gail Haley and Peter Catalamotto. Only a handful of the illustrations have been publicly displayed before now.
This exhibition coincides with the October opening of ImaginOn, the Joe and Joan Martin Center, the new home of the youth and children’s Public Library as well as Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. The exhibit is also a visual acknowledgement of the wonderful two-year collaboration between The Mint Museums and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) called Smart Connections.
The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has amassed a collection of almost 100 original illustrations for children’s books. This collection is a treasure now and for the future, as more and more illustration for publishing is being done on computer.
The collection spans the decades from the early 1960s until the mid-1990s and includes an impressive number of Caldecott Award winning artists and illustrations. Many of the art works are in watercolor, some enhanced with pen and ink or collage, and there are oil paintings, pastel, woodblock prints and linoleum prints, and an example of cut paper that is the trademark of Wisniewski. One of the earliest works is a pencil sketch by Garth Williams for the cover of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. Gail Haley, who now resides in Boone, NC, gave some of her original woodblocks and tools to PLCMC and examples will be included in the exhibition in one case. The exhibit will be enhanced with the addition of a small table and chair in the Williamson Gallery with access to copies of the books for which the illustrations were created from PLCMC. A comment book will be provided for museum visitors’ reminiscences of favorite books and stories.
"The Runt" from The Runt by Neil Waldman
watercolor and pencil, 1983.