Maurice Sendak, the genius writer and illustrator behind such classics as Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There, is to be remembered in the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of his work this autumn.
Opening in Ohio, the retrospective will embark on an international tour so as many people as possible can see examples of his work.
Chances are you've heard of Maurice Sendak. The American illustrator is one of the most renowned picture book artists and writers, famous for creating his own works of fiction as well as bringing the books of others to life via his inimitable style. And now, with Wild Things are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak, visitors will be able to bask in his work firsthand.
Opening in the Columbus Museum of Art on 21 October 2022, the exhibition is the first major retrospective of Sendak's life and career since his death in 2012. Touted as the "largest and most complete" display of his illustrations, the display will run until 5 March 2023 before embarking on an international tour that starts in Paris.
Comprised of more than 150 sketches, storyboards and paintings by Sendak drawn from The Maurice Sendak Foundation, this exhibition includes original artwork from some of his most famous books. This includes imagery from Where the Wild Things Arre, In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There. These exquisite drawings have become timeless classics thanks to their popularity and enduring appeal to young and old readers, making this a truly special exhibition that will appeal to all age groups.
As well as landmark pictures from Sendak's own books, visitors will also be able to see artwork he created for other celebrated publications. These include images from The Bat-Poet by Randall Jarrell, A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, The Little Bear Series by Else Holmelund Minarik, and Zlateh the Goat by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Designs from Sendak's opera, theatre, film and television productions will also be on display.
Wild Things are Happening is possible thanks to the guest curation of Jonathan Weinberg, an artist who is also the curator of The Maurice Sendak Foundation. As well as helping behind the scenes, Weinberg has also edited a lavishly illustrated 256-page catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Bringing together diverse perspectives on Sendak, including words from the artist himself about his career, it also features a major essay by distinguished art historian Thomas Crow.
A man of many inspirations, the retrospective also highlights Sendak's relationship to the art he collected and loved. It includes work by William Blake, Walt Disney, Winsor McCay, George Stubbs, Beatrix Potter and Philipp Otto Runge.
Nannette Maciejunes, CMA executive director and CEO, says: "So many of us grew up with Maurice Sendak's illustrated books. This exhibition allows you to see original drawings for his beloved books and discover Sendak's range as an artist and the true depth of his creativity."
Sendak's love of Mozart also gets special attention, looking at how the composer's life and work shaped the artist's designs for Mozart's operas. There is also an examination of how Mozart influenced key books Outside Over There and Dear Mili. As Sendak stated: "I love opera beyond anything and Mozart beyond anything."
Once it finishes its initial opening run at the Columbus Museum of Art, Wild Things are Happening will move to the Museum of the Art & History of Judaism, Paris, from 19 April to 27 August 2023. Don't worry if you can't get to either of those locations, as further tour dates are expected to be announced soon.