May 8, 2012

RIP

Maurice Sendak 
-Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83













Maurice Bernard Sendak, June 10, 1928-2012
Dubbed by one critic “the Picasso of children’s literature” and once addressed by former President Bill Clinton as “the King of Dreams,” Maurice Sendak illustrated nearly a hundred picture books throughout a career that spanned more than 60 years. Some of his best known books include Chicken Soup with Rice (1962), Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and In the Night Kitchen (1970). Born in Brooklyn in 1928 to Jewish immigrant parents from northern Poland, Sendak grew up idolizing the storytelling abilities of his father, Philip, and his big brother, Jack. As a child he illustrated his first stories on shirt cardboard provided by his tailor-father. Aside from a few night classes in art after graduating high school, Sendak was a largely self-taught artist. His characters, stories, and inspirations were drawn from among his own neighbors, family, pop culture, historical sources, literary influences, and long-held childhood memories. He worked with such well-known children’s authors as Ruth Krauss, Else Minarik, and Arthur Yorinks, and illustrated books by Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Brothers Grimm, and the poet Randall Jarrell. Sendak began a second career as a costume and stage designer in the late 1970s, designing operas by Mozart, Prokofiev, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky, among others. He won numerous awards, including a Caldecott Award, a Newberry Medal, the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, a National Book Award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and a National Medal of Arts. His books continue to be read by millions of children and adults and have been translated into dozens of languages and enjoyed all over the world. The Rosenbach Museum & Library has been the home of his picture book artwork since the late 1960s and mourns his passing as it also celebrates the life and work of an artist who touched so many young lives and nourished so many dreams.
-The Rosenbach Museum & Library

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