Philadelphia: Where the Wild Things Are + Sendak Mania at the Rosenbach
This week, everywhere I seem to look, I see Wild Things. The world is gearing up for the release of the much anticipated live-action film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze. And the excitement is growing here in Philadelphia too. Philly’s own Rosenbach Museum & Library (a Canary client!) is the sole repository of the original artwork of Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are and about a gazillion other books. I love working on publicity for the Rosenbach, especially on projects using materials from the museum’s Sendak collection (which includes over 10,000 pieces). Growing up, we always had a ton of books in the house, including Sendak (thanks Mom!). My favorite copies of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen and Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue are worn and tattered. I played out my VHS tape of Really Rosie cartoons and scratched up my record of Carol King singing Sendak classics, and my Wild Things stuffed animals have now bit the dust. So for me, at 26 years old, it’s pretty cool to get to work on something I loved so much as a kid, and still do now. [caption id=”attachment_310” align=”alignleft” width=”300” caption=”Final drawing for Where the Wild Things Are. Pen and ink, watercolor. © Maurice Sendak, 1963. All rights reserved. Courtesy of the Rosenbach Museum & Library”]& Library" title="webrosenbach-sendak-wwta-rumpus" width="300" height="136" class="size-medium wp-image-310" />[/caption] How did Maurice Sendak’s work come to the Rosenbach Museum & Library? Sendak first met Clive Driver, then Director of the Rosenbach, in 1966 at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Sendak was invited to speak, along with other artists and scholars, at a conference hosted by the library on Beatrix Potter in celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth. From Clive, Sendak learned that the Rosenbach had one of the best Melville collections in the world, among other artists that he loved, like William Blake, John Tenniel, and George Cruikshank. The relationship was cemented in the early 1970s when Sendak decided to give his pictures to the Rosenbach on deposit, marking the start of the Sendak collection at the Rosenbach. In a 2007 interview, Sendak said, “Clive and I got to talking and he began to tell me about The Rosenbach and the virtues of The Rosenbach, and I was then looking for a place to give my stuff to, but I didn’t want it to go to a university… Because they were buried in sealed vaults and whoever got to see them? The point of giving something away and then treating it as it were death of the family was hardly what I was looking forward to. So I was saying where was a place where people could, if they wanted to, make an appointment and see the pictures. So Clive would say, that’s just what we do… They had people I love, artists I love. They had the Alice illustrations….I remember I would lay in The Doctor’s room – Dr. Rosenbach – and Clive would bring me in some drawings for a French novel by Fragonard and they would be in the bed with me. And there was a big fur, animal fur blanket, and I used to lay under it with my Fragonards all around. Hey – that was living! Of course, they took it all back in the morning, that’s the way of life. So anyways, I concluded that that’s where I wanted to be and that’s where it began.” Watch Sendak talk about his childhood, love of movies and storytelling as a youth, in an interview featured in a DVD by the Rosenbach below. Stay tuned for the Rosenbach’s new website, designed by Canary! Until then, visit www.rosenbach.org and check out the museum’s current Sendak-themed exhibitions and events! “Let the wild rumpus start!” - Emaleigh Interview clip from the DVD “There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak: A Retrospective in Words and Pictures.”
Submitted by canary on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 5:32pm
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