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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002
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  • Tues. – Fri. 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12pm – 5pm

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Press_Release_Uri Shulevitz

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Opens

Tall Tales and Short Tales: The Art of Uri Shulevitz

March 14th - June 14th

(Amherst, MA—February 10, 2015)  The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to present Tall Tales and Short Tales: The Art of Uri Shulevitz, a retrospective of the work of Caldecott award-winning artist Uri Shulevitz. Organized by Curator Emeritus Nick Clark in celebration of Shulevitz’s 80th year, the exhibition opens on March 14 and will comprise approximately 90 works surveying Shulevitz’s career as a picture-book artist as well as examples of his work in other fields. Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group.

Of note, Tall Tales and Short Tales: The Art of Uri Shulevitz features original art from the 1969 book Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, for which Shulevitz garnered the Caldecott Medal. He also won Caldecott Honors in 1979, 1999, and, most recently, in 2009 for How I Learned Geography. This poignant memoir documents the extreme deprivation of Shulevitz’s early life in Poland and how a map of the world inspired his curiosity and imagination.  The exhibition also includes works from his upcoming book Troto and the Trucks to be published in May.

 “We are honored and delighted to include Uri’s career in our ongoing commitment to show the best in picture book art,” says Clark.

Shuletvitz was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1935. He began drawing at the age of three. He was only four years old when German bombs drove his Jewish family out of the city and into an eight-year exile traveling through Europe before arriving in Paris in 1947.  “I had no artistic guidance,” recalls Shulevitz. “During World War II, in Russia, there were shortages of just about everything. When a letter came—which wasn’t often—I drew on top of the writing. When one side of the letter was blank it was a special treat. When I had no pen, ink, pencil, or colors, I used a half-burnished stick of wood or a twig as charcoal; for green, I squeezed a leaf; for colors, flower petals. The result was only a hint of color.”

His family eventually settled in Israel. At fifteen, Shulevitz became the youngest artist to have his art exhibited at the Tel Aviv Museum. To help support his family, he attended high school at night and worked various jobs during the day, among them as an apprentice to a rubber-stamp manufacturer and as a clerk at the dog-licensing desk in Tel Aviv City Hall. After high school, he studied literature and natural sciences at the Teachers’ Institute and art at the Art Institute of Tel Aviv. 

When he was twenty-four, Shulevitz moved to New York City, where he studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and began work as an illustrator for a publisher of Hebrew children’s books. In 1963, Harper & Row published his first book, The Moon in My Room. He went on to write many stories of his own and also illustrate books for others, including the Fool of the World and the Flying Ship by Arthur Ransome. He gave back to emerging artists in 1985 by authoring Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books, which has become the definitive work on the subject and a guide that Shuletvitz wishes had been available to him. It is a comprehensive and lucid textbook for students of picture books, taking them through the process from telling the story and planning the book to creating the pictures and preparing for publication. Shulevitz expresses his concern for the rhythm of the illustrations, noting that his books often “unfold” in his mind much “like a movie.”

In addition to his success at bringing his own stories to life, Shulevitz has distinguished himself for his success in interpreting the works of other authors. “I don’t differentiate between a story that I have written or someone else’s. If I love a story by someone else, I treat it as if it were mine….I feel a loyalty to the words and their spirit, and I do my best to express this in pictures.”   

Working in a wide variety of media, Shulevitz demonstrates remarkable versatility, which is on full view in the exhibition. “I am constantly searching for a new way of illustrating,” claims the artist. “I use a lot of pen and ink and watercolor....In some black and white [drawings], I have also scratched with a razor blade the pen-and-ink line and then reworked it for a long time to achieve a certain effect as in an etching. I have used a Japanese reed pen and a Chinese brush.”

Uri Shulevitz is one of the most highly regarded picture book artists working today. He is a man devoted to his craft: “…I do books that I love or would’ve loved as a kid, when I had no books. … It’s essential that I love what I’m doing; if I don’t, no one else will.”

A 40-page illustrated catalogue with an essay and interview with the artist by Clark will accompany the exhibition.

Exhibition related events:

Members Opening Reception

A Conversation with Uri Shulevitz

Saturday, March 14 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Gallery Talk: Tall Tales and Short Tales: The Art of Uri Shulevitz,

with Author/Illustrator Uri Shulevitz

Sunday, March 15, 2015
2:00 pm
Free with Museum Admission

Book signing to follow program

About The Carle:
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 and Barbara Carle 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 served 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 art 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. 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

 

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FOR REPRODUCTION. For additional press information and/or images, please contact Sandy Soderberg, Marketing Manager (413) 658–1105 / sandys@carlemuseum.org

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