IN THE East Gallery
The Golden Age to the Modern Era: The Michael and Esther Droller Collection
It started when Michael Droller received a framed reproduction of a Maxfield Parrish painting as a graduation present from medical school. That gift ignited his passion for illustration, a passion that has long sustained Droller outside his career in medicine. Over 40 years, he and his wife Esther have amassed an enviable collection rich in literary history and artistic achievement. Artists from the Golden Age of Illustration—a period of extraordinary creative ferment from 1875 to World War I—include Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway, as well as later but accomplished practitioners Frank Adams, L. Leslie Brooke, and W. Heath Robinson. The Droller’s modern holdings, spanning the last quarter of the 20th century, comprise such luminaries as Barbra Cooney, Alice and Martin Provensen, and Maurice Sendak. Thematic subjects bridge both epochs, allowing artistic comparisons between Arthur Rackham’s and Jerry Pinkney’s versions of Aesop’s Fables to Charles Robinson’s and Michael Hague’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
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.