Wild Reading: Animals in Children’s Book Art at the Bruce

Jeannie Brett, “North American Black Bear,” 2012, from Wild About Bears, watercolor and gouache on paper, 22 1/2" x 9 in. Collection of the artist

Jeannie Brett, “North American Black Bear,” 2012, from Wild About Bears, watercolor and gouache on paper, 22 1/2″ x 9 in. Collection of the artist

The Bruce Museum offers a new adventure into the world of animals beginning March 26 when the exhibition Wild Reading: Animals in Children’s Book Art opens. Through more than 30 contemporary and historic illustrations, the show explores the colorful lives of wild animals, both realistic and exaggerated.  Original works by artists such as Quentin Blake (illustrator of books by Roald Dahl and others), Eric Carle, Wendell Minor, Maurice Sendak and others demonstrate the wide range of styles and visual elements used in children’s literature — from color, line, and shape to texture and composition.

A highlight of this exhibition will be taxidermy specimens including a fox, groundhog, rabbit, chipmunk, squirrel, raccoon, birds, and insects from the Museum’s natural history collection, which will be paired with their illustrated counterparts. Comparisons drawn between the illustrations and specimens address the characteristics that make each animal unique and the artistic techniques used to emphasize these features. For example, a mounted gray wolf will be matched with John Hassall’s original 1926 drawing of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf from Mother Goose’s Book of Nursery Stories, Rhymes and Fables, while the Museum’s black bear associates with.Fred Banbery’s Paddington Bear and more naturalistic illustrations by Jeannie Brett and Carin Berger.  

An accompanying family gallery guide and family day will foster exciting cross-generational experiences for Museum visitors of all ages.

Wild Reading: Animals in Children’s Book Art, which is curated by Bruce Museum staff members Kathleen Holko and Mia Laufer, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, through July 3, 2016. The exhibition is generously supported by Gabelli Funds, the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

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