STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.-Few pictures possess such personal meaning and rich associations as those remembered from childhood. In "Once Upon a Time: The Picture Book Art of Creative Editions," on view at Norman Rockwell Museum from March 5 through June 12, 2005, the wonder of enduring tales is celebrated through the work of 16 of today's most highly acclaimed international children's book illustrators. The vibrant, original illustrations in the exhibition are compiled from recent volumes produced by Creative Editions--a publishing company devoted to aesthetic excellence in Mankato, Minnesota. The exhibition is supported by gifts from Greylock Federal Credit Union and Massachusetts Electric, a National Grid Company.
"The exhibition celebrates the very best in children's books today," says Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, associate director of exhibitions and programs. "From a fresh look at beloved classics like 'Cinderella,' 'The Seven Dwarfs,' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' personal memoirs of childhood during wartime in 'Rose Blanche' and '1942,' and delightful, wordless picture books for the very young, the exhibition reflects a rich diversity of stories and experiences."
In the carefully considered illustrations in "Once Upon a Time: The Picture Book Art of Creative Editions," craftsmanship keeps pace with creative expression. These works of singular merit and marked individuality infuse timeless stories, new and old, with life. Inspired by the human experience and the world of the imagination, the gifted artists represented in the exhibition expand text and meaning, stimulate an interest in imagery, and challenge readers to look beyond the superficial or expected. The exhibition includes the work of area artists Etienne Delessert of Lakeville, Connecticut, Michael McCurdy of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Rita Marshall of Lakeville, Connecticut, artistic director for the books represented in the exhibition.
The Artists in the Exhibition - Marshall Arisman is an American artist and the chairman of the Master of Fine Arts program, Illustration as Visual Essay, at the School of Visual Arts in New York. His editorial illustrations have appeared in "Time," "Newsweek," and "The New York Times," and his work is included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, among others.
Jean-Louis Besson, born in Paris in 1932, turned a childhood love of drawing into a career as an illustrator. His work has been featured in magazines, motion pictures, and posters throughout Europe. He has also written and illustrated many children's books, including the award winning "October '45: Childhood Memories of the War."
Guy Billout, a native of France, began his career as an illustrator in 1969. He has written and illustrated several picture books, four of which have been named to the "New York Times" Ten Best Illustrated Children's Book list. His editorial illustrations for "The Atlantic Monthly" and "The New Yorker" are widely recognized.
Jean Claverie is a graduate of French and Swiss art institutions. He has illustrated children's books for more than two decades. Among his nearly 50 books is the award winning "Little Lou" for Creative Editions. He also works as an art instructor and is a juror at such international art competitions as the Bologna Children's Book Fair.
Etienne Delessert is the creator of more than 80 children's books and has twice received Graphic prize from the Bologna Children's Book Fair. Delessert's captivating illustrations from such books as "The Seven Dwarfs" and "Dance!" secured his international reputation as one of the fathers of modern children's picture books.
Monique Felix, a Swiss artist, studied graphic arts at l'Ecole des Arts Appliqués in Lausanne. She has illustrated more than 40 children's picture books, including the award-winning "Mouse Books" series, "Tuba Lessons," and "Hundreds of Fish." Her artwork has earned numerous awards, including the Bratislava Golden Apple Award.
John Howe was born in British Columbia and attended l'Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg in France. The illustrator of many books, he is also a renowned Tolkein artist who created conceptual art for the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy.
Roberto Innocenti was born in Bagno a Ripoli, a small town near Florence, Italy. With no formal art training, he began his career designing film and theater posters and has since become one of the world's leading children's book illustrators. Among his critically acclaimed picture books are "Nutcracker," "Pinnochio," and "Rose Blanche," a compelling tale of a young girl's experience in Germany during World War II.
Gary Kelley, a contributor to such prominent periodicals as "The New Yorker" and "Rolling Stone," is one of the foremost illustrators in the United States. Among his acclaimed children's books are such classics as "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Red Shoes." His many professional awards include more than 25 gold and silver medals from The Society of Illustrators in New York.
Claude Lapointe is one of Europe's top illustrators and has more than 70 books to his credit. Trained at the l'Ecole des Beaux Arts de Nancy and l'Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg in France, he has also applied his talents as a writer, animator, and educator. Among his many honors is the Graphics prize from the Bologna Children's Book Fair.
Georges Lemoine was born in Rouen, France, and has illustrated more than 60 books published throughout Europe and the United States. He is celebrated for his children's books, such as "The Wicked Prince," which have garnered numerous awards in major international competitions.
Michael McCurdy was born in New York and studied fine art in Massachusetts. He spent seventeen years as a book publisher at Penmaen Press Books and later established himself as a renowned author and illustrator. His drawings and wood engravings can be found in more than 180 books, including "Christmas Present."
Yan Nascimbene wrote and illustrated his first children's book in 1988. Since then, he has created dozens of award-winning books and more than 300 book jackets for publishers in France, Italy, and the United States.
Chris Sheban, an American-born illustrator, spent years in Perugia, Italy crafting his artistic style before returning home. He has since illustrated several acclaimed children's picture books, including "I Met a Dinosaur," which was awarded a prestigious gold medal from The Society of Illustrators.
John Thompson has worked as an illustrator for such diverse clients as NASA, the United States Air Force, and "Sports Illustrated." He has also created several acclaimed children's books, including Freedom Like Sunlight, and is a professor of art at Syracuse University.
Christopher Wormell, known for his elegant wood engravings, has been illustrating books for more than a decade. His children's books, which include "Mowgli's Brothers" and "A Number of Animals," have earned numerous honors, including the Graphics prize at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. He lives in England.