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Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak In His Own Words and Pictures

 

Beginning January 31, 2004, Strong Museum guests can sail off to adventure with Max at Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak In His Own Words and Pictures.

Celebrate the life and work of one of the most famous and beloved children's book authors and illustrators through a multi-media exhibit of photographs, video, book illustrations, music, and interactive adventures. (Wild Rumpus Party opening weekend festivities will take place Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1.) (left: Little Wild Thing, ©1963 Maurice Sendak.  Courtesy of the Maurice Sendak Archives, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.)

Kids can immerse themselves in their favorite Sendak stories as they dress up like a Wild Thing and have a wild rumpus in the forest, read on Rosie's front stoop, slide into a giant bowl of Chicken Soup with Rice, and cook up some mischief with the bakers In the Night Kitchen. Kids are also encouraged to create their own magnetic masterpieces while listening to classical music. All this, while surrounded by Sendak's original art, drafts, handwritten notes, and illustrations.

Adults and kids alike will be engrossed by the personal experiences that molded Sendak's life and shaped his most well-known works, including Where the Wild Things Are, Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, In the Night Kitchen, and In Grandpa's House. Family photographs and stories from Sendak's childhood show that his family life and Jewish heritage had a profound affect on his creations. Mirrored in his illustrations and woven into his stories are early childhood memories, first-hand experiences or remembered stories -- the Brooklyn streets and neighborhood children of his youth; the smells from the kitchens of his mother, Sadie, and his neighbor and close friend, Ida Perles; and the mystery and magic of New York City. (The lovable but slightly fearsome creatures in The Wild Things were inspired by the immigrant Jewish relatives who came to his house to eat during his childhood. "They talked in a foreign language and pinched you," said Sendak. "They showed us love that was very heavy. . . I did learn to love them, and once I learned their history, it broke my heart.") Also on view are the books and wooden toys he and his brother made when they were young. (right: Wild Max, ©1963 Maurice Sendak.  Courtesy of the Maurice Sendak Archives, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.)

In addition, the exhibit illustrates Sendak's move from children's literature to other areas in the world of art. Not many people are aware that Sendak's work includes librettos, costumes, and set designs for opera and ballet. He also created a television cartoon and co-founded a children's theater group, "The Night Kitchen Theater."

Sendak has written and illustrated more than 100 books since 1951, and has won nearly every important prize in children's literature. Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963, won the Caldecott Medal for distinguished picture book of the year and is still one of the ten best selling children's books of all time. (right: Group, ©1963 Maurice Sendak.  Courtesy of the Maurice Sendak Archives, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.)

Where the Wild Things Are remains at Strong Museum through May 9, 2004.

The exhibit was organized by The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta, Georgia. Many of the images in this exhibition are facsimiles taken from the original art in the Maurice Sendak Archive housed at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

All images are ©1963 Maurice Sendak.  Courtesy of the Maurice Sendak Archives, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.

 

Strong Museum, located in Downtown Rochester's East End neighborhood at One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607, is the nation's leading hands-on history center for children and families. For hours and admission fees please see the Museum's website.


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