The Art of Matching Picture to Text: An Exhibition to Celebrate the Art of Illustration

The Art of Matching Picture to Text:
An Exhibition to Celebrate the Art of Illustration

Main Library – Third Floor Gallery
August 20 – November 1, 2007
Illustrators take their images from both the worlds of reality and fiction with results that often have a powerful impact on the minds and eyes of viewers and readers around the world. A selection of memorable images from yesterday and today are on view in an exhibit at The Newark Public Library that has been carefully edited with great care to appeal to visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Drawing from a collection of over 2,500 illustrated books in the Library’s Special Collections Division, plus posters, portraits, and assorted illustrated publications, the exhibit focuses on a score of great illustrators from the 19th century to today. Among the artists featured are Elizabeth Catlett, Tom Phillips, David Macaulay, Kate Greenaway, Reginald Marsh, Saul Steinberg, Christopher Myers, Charles Dana Gibson, Norman Rockwell and Beatrix Potter, who is famed for her enormously appealing story and drawings of Peter Rabbit and whose life was the theme of a major 2007 film starring Renée Zellweger.

Some of the historic and now rare titles on display are from the Wilbur Macy Stone Collection. The collection features early books written for children and donated to the Library by Mr. Stone who was a patent attorney who died in 1941 at his home in East Orange. The illustrators whose works are on view have enjoyed wide popularity in today’s world, as well as across generations of readers. The Library exhibit organized by William J. Dane, Supervisor of The Special Collections Division, is organized to appeal to just about everybody who enjoys reading and looking at pictures.

Unique materials on display include personal sketchbooks by celebrated New Jersey artist, Adolf Konrad. Konrad loved to sketch with pencil, pen, or color pencils, the views around him and the people he came across on a daily basis, much of which happened around Newark’s Fulton and Broad Streets where he had his home and studio for many years. He later used some of his wonderful, careful sketches in his large paintings. From 1873 to 1941, St. Nicholas Magazine was a very popular journal for American children ages 5 to 18. One of the stated goals of the editor, Mary Mapes Dodge, remembered for her Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, was to inspire young readers to have a solid appreciation for fine pictorial art. Pages from early issues of this periodical are on view as well as an historic survey of the witty and famed covers of The New Yorker, with an added selection of cartoons featuring dogs with human attributes.

Nearly 40 posters celebrating illustrated books are included in the exhibit. They focus on dragons, books illustrated by African-American artists, and classic works by fine artists, including Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Norman Rockwell and Saul Steinberg. A unique and remarkable artist’s book by Ronald King of London includes pop-up elements and shopping bags remind us of the current adoration of the Harry Potter series of publication creating a global sensation in the book world.

Overall, this show includes over 100 books and 50 posters, prints and visual works and all are from The Special Collections Division of The Newark Public Library. It is hoped that viewers of the exhibit will find the varied selection appealing to minds and hearts as it represents the successful marriage or blending of two essential art forms: literature and illustration. The continuing and growing popularity of illustrated books to readers of all ages and professions is testimony to their enduring appeal ranging across generations past, present and future.

The galleries of The Newark Public Library are open without charge of any kind during regular hours at 5 Washington Street in Newark’s growing cultural complex. For additional details or group tours, please call 973-733-7745.