Today we celebrate the life and art of one of the greatest children’s book artists of the 20th century, Maurice Sendak. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, Sendak began drawing as a child and continued all of his life. During the 1950s, he illustrated nearly fifty children’s books as a freelance illustrator. Unlike his contemporaries, he believed that illustration should add to the mystery and intrigue of the book, not simply illustrate the text. He wrote and illustrated Where the Wild Things Are in 1963, a book that has inspired and been loved by generations of children and adults. In 1964 he was awarded the Caldecott Medal by the American Library Association for Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak went on to write dozens of other children’s books including In the Night Kitchen (1970.) He also produced and designed various opera and dance performances. His work was exhibited in 2005 in Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak at The Jewish Museum in NYC and is currently on view in From Pen to Publisher: The Life of Three Sudak Picture Books at The Rosenbach Museum & Library in Phildelphia, PA.
For a wonderful tribute to the life of Maurice Sendak, see his obituary in the The New York Times.