IN THE West Gallery
Brown Bear Turns 50
Published in 1967, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? had an immediate appeal to children and adults alike. Bill Martin Jr’s rhythmic call-and-response text builds anticipation at each turn of the page, while Eric Carle’s bold graphics and parade of animals encourage learning and imagination. Brown Bear has been translated into 31 languages—from Arabic to Vietnamese—and has sold 16 million copies. In addition to the original 1967 book, Carle re-illustrated editions in 1970, 1984, and 1992.
Artwork from every page of the famous book is on display, as well as a selection of Carle’s collages from additional collaborations with Martin. One of only two surviving collages from the 1967 edition—Brown Bear himself—has been faithfully restored and is on view for the first time.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Hsin-Yi Foundation, with additional support from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
IN THE Central Gallery
A Friend Among Us: The Art of Brinton Turkle
Step back in time with Brinton Turkle and his tales of American lore. Whether set on the island of Nantucket or in the mountains of Appalachia, his stories and poetic imagery capture both the history and nuances of place. Turkle follows the escapades of a young Quaker boy in his Obadiah series, offers a surprising twist on a favorite fairy tale in Deep in the Forest, and sprinkles magic realism throughout the pages of Sky Dog. All work is from the museum’s permanent collection, generously donated by the artist’s children. A highlight is surely Turkle’s watercolor illustrations from Thy Friend, Obadiah, awarded a 1970 Caldecott Honor.
IN THE East Gallery
It’s Me, Eloise: The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight
More than 60 years after her debut, Eloise remains a six-year-old star. What accounts for her enduring appeal? Perhaps it is her sly face transfigured with successful sin, that endearing potbelly, or the extravagant world in which she lives. Whatever her magic, Eloise’s charm comes down to two things: that audacious voice and those filigree illustrations. The voice was cabaret star Kay Thompson’s, a comic riff with which she amused her friends. The pictures came from the pen of a young artist, Hilary Knight. Their unlikely collaboration was the alchemical formula from which the successful Eloise series was born.
It’s Me, Eloise: The Voice of Kay Thompson and the Art of Hilary Knight includes more than 90 artworks from the Eloise collaborations—as well as art from the rest of Knight’s prodigious career as a children’s book artist, poster artist, magazine illustrator, and painter. Never before-seen artwork from Knight’s archive include his 1954 trial drawings for the first Eloise book, two Eloise In Paris sketchbooks, a Hollywood notebook with a double-page spread of Thompson belting out “Think Pink!” from Funny Face, a magnificent suite of final art from Eloise In Moscow, and the 1993 Eloise watercolor for New York Is Book Country. There’s a kicker, too: for the first time since its infamous disappearance from the Plaza Hotel in 1960, Knight’s original 1956 Eloise portrait will be on public display.
This exhibition has been generously supported by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, the Walton Family Foundation, Brenda Bowen and Michael Smith, and an anonymous donor.