The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, January 19, 2018

Illustrator and Writer Maurice Sendak's Mural Painted in 1961 has New Home in Philadelphia
A worker performs conservation treatment on Maurice Sendak's 1961 The Chertoff Mural. AP Photo/Matt Rourke.

Joann Loviglio, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP).- Long before award-winning illustrator and writer Maurice Sendak's world of wild things charmed millions of young readers and changed the notion of what children's literature could look like, some of his now-classic characters frolicked on a wall overlooking New York's Central Park for an audience of two.

A mural Sendak painted in 1961 was removed — wall and all — after his friends, who were the apartment's longtime residents, had passed away. Now, it is being restored in a Philadelphia museum devoted to his work.

"What's nice is it's like a time machine," the 82-year-old Sendak told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his Connecticut home. "It captures a part of the past for a moment, and friends who were very dear to me."

Sendak painted the work on a bedroom wall of Lionel and Roslyn Chertoff's Upper West Side apartment, two years before he gained international acclaim for "Where the Wild Things Are" in 1963. Though that book's "wild rumpus"-loving monsters don't make an appearance, the mural features Sendak's beloved pet terrier and star of several books, Jennie, leading a parade of festively dressed children, a bear and a lion that the artist would revisit in books throughout his career.

It is believed to be the only surviving mural by Sendak, who created the 4-by-13-foot artwork as a gift to Nina and Larry Chertoff, then ages 4 and 6, on the wall of their 13th-floor bedroom.

"Those two kids were in that room when I was working on it, running in and out of the room, bumping around, laughing, screaming," Sendak recalled with a chuckle. "I had fun painting it, it was a great experience."

Fifty years later, the Chertoff siblings — whose names appear on the mural on a parasol held by a lion's tail — vividly recall it as a magical part of their childhood.

"The beds were below the mural and at night, as a kid you'd be going to sleep and you would fantasize that the array of kids and characters were all going to the park, they were going to go and have a great time," Larry Chertoff recalled. "It was almost like having imaginary friends who had been substantiated somehow, because they were there on the wall for us to see."

Sendak and his late partner, Eugene Glynn, were frequent guests at the Chertoffs' apartment. Glynn and Lionel Chertoff, both psychiatrists, became acquainted professionally in the 1950s and the couples quickly came to be close and lifelong friends.

After the deaths of their parents and the pending rental of the apartment where they grew up, the Chertoff children decided to donate the mural to the Rosenbach Museum & Library, located within two elegant 1860s townhouses in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. In 1967, Sendak himself chose the Rosenbach — once the home of rare book dealers Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach — as the repository for 10,000 works of his art, books, manuscripts and ephemera that can be seen in rotating exhibitions and events year-round.

Upon finding where they wanted the mural to go, the next step was figuring out how to get it there. It took months of preparation before the entire mural wall was removed from the apartment in 2008 in what curator Judy Guston called a "brute force, but delicate, operation."

"It was bittersweet that it was the end of the era where it was, but its future is to be seen by children from all over the world," Nina Chertoff said. "Even the doormen were cheering as it came out of the building; they wanted their pictures taken in front of it . the whole thing was one of those rare moments in time where everything happened the right way, for the right reasons."

The 1,400-pound plaster-covered masonry wall had to be split into two pieces, to get it onto an elevator and out of the apartment building, then was loaded onto a truck to Philadelphia. Several years of evaluation, planning and construction later, it now rests in its permanent home inside the Rosenbach's first-floor gallery, where conservation work is under way to stabilize flaking paint and remove layers from housepainters who accidentally covered parts of the characters as they painted around them.

Equipped with a scalpel, cotton swabs and patience, conservator Cassie Myers works at the Rosenbach nearly every day to meet an April completion deadline. The museum has created public viewing hours on Wednesdays for the curious to see the restoration as it progresses.

"It's really satisfying to have it here and see the progress," Guston said. "We hope that when Maurice sees it, it'll be like seeing an old friend again. I think he'll be delighted."

The Chertoffs and Sendak said they hope to make the trip to Philadelphia when the restored mural is unveiled.

"We're so happy that it can be shared with everyone," Larry Chertoff said. "Our mom passed away, Eugene passed away, our dad is gone, but it felt like their spirits went with the mural and are wrapped up in it somehow. That's a beautiful feeling."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Today's News

February 8, 2011

Exhibition at Musee du Luxembourg in Paris Spotlights German Master Lucas Cranach

Surreal Objects: Three-Dimensional Works from Dalí to Man Ray at the Schirn Kunsthalle

LACMA And The Getty Museum Acquire Robert Mapplethorpe Art And Archive

Clark Art Institute to Explore Rarely Examined Side of Pissarro in Exhibition

Survey of Technological Developments in Photographic Representations of Trees at the Getty

The Hermitage and the Prado Announce Exchange of Important Selection of Works

Artists Take Inspiration from Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding

Paris Exhibition Honors Associated Press Vietnam War Photographer Henri Huet

National Museum of American History Receives Eddie Van Halen's "Frankenstein Replica" Guitar

Exhibition of 19th-Century British Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada

Increasing Interest in Rare, 19th Century Oriental Carpets Continues Unabated Among Art Collectors

Stephenson's Ushers in a New Year with an SRO $300,000 Auction of Estate Art and Antiques

Signed Martin Johnson Heade Multi-Million Dollar Painting Stagnated By Troubled and Villainous Art World

Palestinian-British Artist Mona Hatoum Announced Winner of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize

First United Kingdom Showing of Robert McCabe's Work Opens at the Hellenic Centre

Art Naples: Naples Premier Contemporary Art Fair Launches in March

Natural History Museum in DC Reopens After Fire

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass Says Egypt's Damaged Artifacts to Be Restored in Days

Important Works Made in the Last Five Years by Turner Prize Winner Simon Starling at Tate St. Ives

Illustrator and Writer Maurice Sendak's Mural Painted in 1961 has New Home in Philadelphia

Important Collection of New Works by Claude Lazar and Margot Lazar at Franklin Bowles Galleries

Arp Museum Presents the Work of Gerda Steiner & Jorg Lenzlinger for the First Time in Germany

Exhibition at Museu d'Art Contemporani Illustrates The Otolith Group's Unusual Working Method

Acclaimed American Artist Bill Viola's The Quintet of the Unseen at BlainSouthern

Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard Present PUBLICSFEAR, their Frst Major Exhibition in London

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Awards 43 Fellowships to Virginia Students and Artists

UK's Ancient Secrets may Be Buried with Old Bones

A Night at the Museum 'Dream-Over' for Adults Provides Opportunity to Have Art-Inspired Dreams in Museun Galleries

Fashion Museums from NYC to LA, Paris and More

Pennsylvania Museum to Release 8 Items to Alaska Tribe

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- National Air and Space Museum releases "VR Hangar" app

2.- Inrap discovers a mikveh in the medieval Jewish quarter of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux

3.- Wellcome Collection acquires 17th century portrait of internationally renowned and hirsute Barbara van Beck

4.- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation names Ghislain d'Humieres to oversee its core operations

5.- LACMA exhibits for the first time two photographic series by Richard Prince

6.- Jade and gold burial suit, finest to survive ancient China, featured in Nelson-Atkins exhibition

7.- Peru recovers 79 pre-Hispanic textiles from the Museum of Gothenburg in Sweden

8.- Vincent van Gogh's 'Watermill at Kollen' on display at Het Noordbrabants Museum

9.- Saint Louis Art Museum will acquire 'Portrait of Charlotte Cram' by John Singer Sargent

10.- British Museum opens the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful