Eric Carle (1929–2021) was one of the most acclaimed and beloved illustrators of our time. Though born in Syracuse, New York, he grew up in Stuttgart, Germany, during World War II, an experience that shaped his life and art. Carle returned to the U.S. in his early twenties and became a commercial artist and art director in New York City. He went on to create more than 70 children’s books, typically with exuberant collages featuring his hand-painted tissue paper. Renowned for The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), Carle revolutionized picture book design with interactive elements—holes, flaps, twinkling lights, and sounds—to make reading accessible, fun, and artful.
Since its inception in 2002, The Museum has organized over 50 exhibitions of Carle’s art in its Amherst galleries as well as numerous exhibitions for domestic and international travel. The Museum cares for over 5,000 of Carle’s works.
The caterpillar’s famous journey is now known across the globe. Even fifty years after its original publication, a copy of the book sells somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! It has been translated into 62 languages, most recently Yiddish and Mongolian.