Eric Carle: Hide and Seek
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Presents The Art of Eric Carle: Hide and Seek On View April 6 to August 28, 2016
Amherst, MA (January, 25, 2016) – The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents The Art of Eric Carle: Hide and Seek on view April 5 through August 28, 2016. Carle has made many pieces of unforgettable art during a 50-year career that includes more than 70 books. Unbeknownst to most readers, however, Carle has left behind a trail of “Easter eggs” in his illustrations, and in doing so has created a subtext of secret allusions. This exhibition aims to entice visitors to take a closer look at Carle’s art to uncover these hidden references.
“Easter eggs” are small, unexpected items that artists, directors and designers intentionally incorporate into their books, movies and video games, usually as a way to honor someone or simply as a means to further engage their fans. Easter eggs in literature are beloved by readers because of the sense of fun and discovery they deliver. In his art, Carle playfully references his family, friends and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He often hides “C” and “R” in his images, denoting the first letters of his children’s names. “A few times,” Carle says, “I have even incorporated the names of friends into my books. These names will be hard to find. They are camouflaged.”
The Art of Eric Carle: Hide and Seek presents 27 artworks from 17 books, as well as previously unseen original art from the Museum’s collection. Books featured in the exhibition include The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and Walter the Baker. On the final page of Walter the Baker, Carle discreetly adds his children’s initials to a wooden barrel in the lower right-hand corner; they’re easy to miss amid the merriment of the scene. On the flag of the cargo ship in 10 Little Rubber Ducks, Carle has written “Bobbie,” a reference to his late wife.
Chief Curator Ellen Keiter, who organized the exhibition, said she had been curious about the mystery letters in Carle’s work. However, the idea for the show was sparked when she discovered a “very” familiar-looking caterpillar stowed away on a train car in A Very Long Train. “It made me stop and consider why Carle included such references to past work or to his personal life,” said Keiter. “I hope visitors share in my delight in uncovering these hidden gems. Each one opens a window into Carle’s personal story and the people who are important to him.”
The presentation is made possible through the generous support of the Hsin-Yi Foundation.
In addition to The Art of Eric Carle: Hide and Seek, museum visitors will enjoy a new timeline of the artist’s life in the gallery. The timeline leads visitors though important events in Carle’s life, from his move from the United States to Germany as a boy in 1935 to the opening of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 2002.
A third display in the gallery, From the Collection: Dog Days, features 16 ink and watercolor illustrations of man’s best friend. The artists represented include Hilary Knight, Arnold Lobel, Barry Moser, William Steig, and Suzanne Suba, among others.
About the Museum
The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical and artistic significance of picture books and their art form. The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy. Eric Carle and the late Barbara Carle co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Since opening, the 40,000-square foot facility has serve more than half a million visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 13,000 objects, including 6,600 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three are galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master’s degree programs in children’s literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call 413-658-1100 or visit the Museum’s website at www.carlemuseum.org.
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