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Wendell Minor's America the Beautiful: Celebrating 15 Years of Picture Book Art

August 2 - November 2, 2003

 

The award-winning artist-illustrator Wendell Minor celebrates his 15-year career in children's book illustration with Wendell Minor's America the Beautiful: Celebrating 15 Years of Picture Book Art, an exhibition of 38 original paintings from 26 books. On display are three paintings from this Connecticut-based artist's most recent publication, America the Beautiful, the classic American poem by Katharine Lee Bates, which was released in May of 2003. (right: Wendell Minor (b. 1944), "Portrait of Henry Fleming, " watercolor/gouache on paper, from the book The Red Badge of Courage, A Scribner Illustrated Classic, courtesy Florence and Wendell Minor)

The exhibition showcases the original art that Mr. Minor has produced specifically for children's picture books over the past 15 years. Paintings for books by some of the most beloved children's authors including Jean Craighead George (Morning, Noon, and Night, Cliff Hanger, Arctic Son, and Snow Bear), Diane Siebert (Mojave, Heartland, and Sierra), and Eve Bunting (Red Fox Running and We Were There) are featured. Also on view are illustrations for such classics as The Red Badge of Courage, The Call of the Wild, and Shane. This exhibition will be held in the Museum's Bantle Lecture Gallery and may have limited viewing hours due to public programs taking place.      

Wendell Minor's art is not limited to children's book illustration. He has provided illustrations for nearly 2,000 works, among them the best sellers Truman by David McCullough, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg, Alaska by James Michener, and Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry. His numerous collaborations with authors of children's books have led to his own forays as author-illustrator and resulted in the that abounds in the world. He draws upon his lifelong affinity for the environment in his work, allowing him to combine his love of the outdoors with his independent pursuits - including painting the landscape from life. For every book, Mr. Minor travels to research the subject he will illustrate. His travels have taken him from the subtropical Everglades of Florida to Barrow, Alaska, in the Arctic Circle.

Mr. Minor has had a romance with America since his childhood in Aurora, Illinois, and his love of country has grown with a vision that celebrates the beautiful and the lyrical. When illustrating children's books, Mr. Minor finds great satisfaction in creating art to inspire children to go out into the fields, woods and mountains to see wildlife in its natural habitat and appreciate the beauty that abounds in the world. He draws upon his lifelong affinity for the environment in his work, allowing him to combine his love of the outdoors with his independent pursuits - including painting the landscape from life. For every book, Mr. Minor travels to research the subject he will illustrate. His travels have taken him from the subtropical Everglades of Florida to Barrow, Alaska, in the Arctic Circle.

After completing his studies at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Minor began creating original designs for book publishers in New York City. Over the years he has received more than 200 awards for his paintings and cover art. Four of his books have been selected for the John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers, and Charlotte Zolotow's The Seashore Book was selected as a "Reading Rainbow Book." Other honors for his books include the John and Patricia Beatty Award and the Parents' Choice Award. His books have also been recognized as ALA Booklist Editor's Choices, as Smithsonian Magazine Notable Books for Children, and as Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council (NSTA/CBC).

His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Norman Rockwell Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Muskegon Museum of Art, Mazza Museum of Art, Museum of American Illustration, Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut, Library of Congress, and the NASA Art Collection at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Mr. Minor currently resides in Washington, Connecticut, with his wife and business partner, Florence Friedmann Minor, and their two cats, Willie and Sofie.

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This page was originally published in 2003 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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