a journal of original drawings and screen prints of animals


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Maurice Sendak 1929- 2012

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.

I was saddened to hear this news yesterday. Sendak was one of my early influences when I illustrated children's books. Amongst my favourites were " Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More To Life" and "The Light Princess".

Many years ago I discovered the work of Francis Barlow from the 1600's. Below is an image from "Fables" published in 1665. See if you don't see the possible influence.

 Thomas Bewick's woodcuts also had to have some influence in Sendak's work, I think.

Memoirs of Randall Jarell
"The First Schlemiel" from Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories" 1966
I suppose that not only did Sendak bring new light to children's books but that he also brought a strong sense of  Jewish history and story telling. I especially see it in his cramped compositions which capture the feeling of the schtetl, which of course reminds me of Chagall.

"The Harlequins" by Marc Chagall 1933

If you'd like to read a bit more, this would be good.


  1. What a wonderful post, Barb !
    What a treasure to hold a book dedicated by the author !
    His art was outstanding.

  2. nice blog - I didn't know about the Light Princess, will look it up.