Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rackham and Grimm, together again

I was surprised to find when I scanned my postings, that I had not yet devoted a post to discussing the work of Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) . Then again, his work is relatively easy to find, and I like digging for the stuff that you might not be familiar with. It was Rackham's work that kicked all of this research and book work off for me, back in '02.—and not without good reason. Dover had already been printing some Rackham material, and it had done fairly well, so I asked "Why hadn't we explored more of it?" With some caution, and the added lure of a market for people specifically interested in fairy tales, Dover put out Rackham's Fairy Tale Illustrations, which has been a solid seller ever since. (about to go into it's fifth printing)
For anyone who may not know, Arthur Rackham, is likely considered the premier British children's book illustrator of the Golden Age. He had a long and productive career in illustration, even when others found different creative ventures, Rackham was always able to find work drawing for tales. His images form many of the icons we hold in our minds when imagining fairy tales—his work was widespread and well sought after. His art tells great stories, and the dark details catch the eyes of elder readers as well as younger listeners.
Within the new books of the Calla line for the Fall, is one of Rackham's greatest collections of color work, his 40 plates for the stories of the brother's Grimm. This original volume was massive—for this new edition, Calla has taken out a few stories that may not have been illustrated at all, or perhaps featured only a small detail. All of the stories that accompany the 40 color plates are included. To the right are some of the gems, featuring Rackham's organic lines, and his soft, earthy tones. The Calla edition, like the others mentioned in previous weeks, is slated for a September release.
Nestled in the hills of Stockbridge, Mass., you can find and visit the studio of the American illustration legend; Norman Rockwell. On the grounds nearby stands the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, rapidly becoming a Northeast stronghold for illustration history—Rockwell's and beyond—what came before and after. Keep an eye on the exhibit list, and the site offers a good deal of information as well.

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