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130 New Works on Display in Major Maurice Sendak Retrospective

PHILADELPHIA.- The Rosenbach Museum & Library introduces 130 new works from its vast Maurice Sendak collection in its exhibition There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak, replacing all 130 items which have been on display since the exhibition opened in May 2008. Visitors are invited to experience the exhibition anew, as the museum continues to unveil work from the famed author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are and 108 other books, providing a unique experience with each set of illustrations. Another round of new Sendak materials will make their debut in late January 2009. [A full schedule of programs, events and admission information follows below.]

Hailed as “a splendidly evocative exhibition” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) “going far past the well-worn Where the Wild Things Are” (Humanities Magazine), There’s a Mystery There continues to garner critical acclaim and rising visitor attendance. The Rosenbach invites visitors to discover the mystery and magic of Sendak’s work for themselves with an exhibition that unveils an intimate portrait of a masterful storyteller engaging with challenging themes such as childhood anxiety, war, poverty and the Holocaust. The exhibition website can be viewed at

The Rosenbach has also released a companion DVD featuring exclusive recent interview footage with Sendak at home and in his studio, segments of which are featured within the exhibition via touch-screen panels in each gallery. Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum & Library Services, and the help of filmmaker Michael O’Reilly, these interviews document Sendak’s life and work, as well as some of his remarkable collections. The DVD is available for purchase at the Museum Gift Shop and online at

This major retrospective, which runs through May 3, 2009, draws on a total of over 300 objects, with new pieces on display every four months. It is the largest and most ambitious exhibition of Sendak’s work ever created and features original artwork, rare sketches, never-before-seen working materials and exclusive interviews. After completing its Philadelphia run in May 2009, this exhibition will travel to three other American venues over the next several years.

The Rosenbach’s entire Maurice Sendak collection – the largest collection of “Sendakiana” in the world – includes over 3000 works of art and over 7000 other working materials. Changing the content of the exhibition allows the museum to conserve the Sendak collection, while showcasing even more Sendak materials, much of which has never been exhibited before.

“While the overall structure and themes of the exhibition remain, in almost every instance we’re able to swap out one illustration for another of the same book title,” says consulting curator Patrick Rodgers. “For example, we have replaced a preliminary sketch of Where the Wild Things Are with a wonderful watercolor from the book, inviting visitors to see yet another side of this timeless story, keeping the exhibition fresh and inviting for audiences to come.”

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