Saturday, September 23, 2017

Masterpieces of Imaginative Illustration

Last night an art museum in Connecticut played host to "trolls, nymphs, and mermaids, plus cosmic warriors on alien planets."

The Witch from Karlekens Under, by Gustaf Tenggren, 1922
The Stamford Art Museum and Nature Center opened their exhibition called "Illustrations of Imaginative Literature: Masterpieces of American and European Science Fiction," with original artwork borrowed from the Korshak Collection.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Arthur Rackham, 1907
The show includes some of the best examples by Arthur Rackham, Frank Frazetta, Jose Segrelles, Willy Pogany, Sir William Russell Flint, Gustav Tenggren, Edmund Dulac, Roy Krenkel, William Heath Robinson, Fortunino Matania, Brian Froud, Heinrich Kley, and Frank R. Paul.

Cheiron the Centaur and Jason by William Russell Flint
The exhibition was composed of approximately 90 works, divided into two main rooms, one showing the European tradition (which was composed mainly of delicate pen and ink drawings and watercolors), and the American tradition (which tended to be brighter in chroma and more exuberant).

Displays of books and magazines in the cases gave context to the original art, and tied the images to the joys of youthful dreaming about faraway worlds. 

Willy Pogany, Tales of the Persian Genii
The opening was packed with people of all ages and backgrounds. There were even some kids looking up from their glowing devices. 

Deathworld 2 James Avati, 1964
"In the last twenty years we've seen science fiction come out of the shadows," said Michael Whelan, a noted paperback cover illustrator throughout the 1980s, as he toured guests through the galleries. "Now it's become part of the mainstream." He remarked about the ease with which contemporary illustrators can submit their work to publishers via email, but "now we're competing with artists all over the world."

Illustrations of Imaginative Literature: Masterpieces of American and European Science Fiction from the Korshak Collection will be on exhibit at the Stamford Museum, Stamford, CT through October 29, 2017.

​It will then continue at the Chazen Museum at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Novem­ber 20, 2017 - February 4, 2018.


Luca said...

"There were even some kids looking up from their glowing devices." I didn't realize you were talking about the phones, ah ah! Very poetic.
Kids seem always lost in their...glowing devices, but their fantasy and curiosity is still there. It's more difficult to grab their attention (and theie attention span reduced), but it's not a kid only problem , i'm afraid this affected all of us and we all risk to lose the feeling of mistery and adventure: everything is at a thumb distance, you take your phone and you have the world in your hand.
But when i've worked in school i noticed that, soon or later, the miracle happen and you can see the marvel in these days kids , like in kids of every time before. It just needs more effort, but i think (and hope) that the deside of marvel and adventure is buried deep down our DNA. Glowing devices or not. :D

Jennifer Rose said...

Would love to see that, looks like a wonderful exhibition!

David Apatoff said...

Is this the same selection from the Korshak collection that was on display at the Society of Illustrators this summer? I know that the excellent Pogany you've shown was at the Society. If Korshak has other material that has not yet been displayed, it will definitely be worth a visit.

James Gurney said...

David, I didn't see the SofI show, but the curators told me that the selection was a little different. They also had to reframe some things.