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Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney

February 6, 2010 - May 16, 2010


The Delaware Art Museum is presenting Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney, featuring more than 60 paintings and mixed media objects, on view February 6, 2010 - May 16, 2010. Inspired by archaeology, lost civilizations, and the art of illustration, Dinotopia is an extraordinary island where humans and dinosaurs live in harmony. James Gurney's stories and art fuse fantasy with realism and scientific accuracy. This major exhibition includes works from three of Gurney's books: Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time (1992); Dinotopia: The World Beneath (1995); and Gurney's fourth volume in the series, Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara (2007).

Throughout the exhibition's run, families are encouraged to pick up a free Dinotopia Journey Guide at the Museum's Front Desk to help navigate the exhibition. Also, included in the exhibition is a resource room where visitors of all ages can learn more about James Gurney and the fantastical world he created in Dinotopia.

The Dinotopia storyline chronicles the adventures and remarkable experiences of Professor Arthur Denison and his son Will on Dinotopia, a mysterious "lost" island inhabited by dinosaurs and shipwrecked travelers. The faraway land of Dinotopia -- wholly the product of Gurney's imagination, scientific knowledge, and meticulous artistic ability -- is a civilization like no other. The society has its own language, alphabet (dinosaur footprints that correspond to each letter of the Roman alphabet), colorful festivals, and parades. The lively cast of characters includes the inquisitive Professor Denison; Will and Sylvia, the adventurous young Skybax riders-in-training; the devious curmudgeon Lee Crabb; the beautiful musician Oriana Nascava; and a multilingual, diplomatic Protoceratops named Bix.

"The thing I love about dinosaurs is that they are on that balance point between fantasy and reality," says Gurney. "It might be hard to believe that mermaids and dragons really existed, but we know that dinosaurs did -- we can see their footprints and skeletons but we can't photograph them or see them, except in our imagination." (right: Studio photo of James Gurney with dinosaur models and Bix, the Protoceratops. Courtesy of James Gurney. © 2006 James Gurney. All rights reserved.)

"Gurney joins the company of America's noted illustrators such as Howard Pyle (who also wrote and illustrated many of his own stories), Maxfield Parrish, and N. C. Wyeth," said Walt Reed, founder of Illustration House

Gurney's first Dinotopia book, the New York Times bestseller Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, appeared in 18 languages in more than 30 countries and has sold over two million copies. In 2002, Hallmark Entertainment produced a lavish $86 million television miniseries for ABC-TV based on the Dinotopia books that received record-setting ratings and an Emmy award for best visual effects.

Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA.


(above: Habitat Partners, from Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, James Gurney (born 1958), Oil on board, 18 x 26 inches. Collection of the artist. © 1992 James Gurney. All rights reserved.)


(above: The Excursion, from Dinotopia: The World Beneath, James Gurney (born 1958), Oil on board mounted to plywood, 28 x 42 inches. Collection of the artist. © 1995 James Gurney. All rights reserved.)


Please click here to view a page with additional images of art objects in the exhibition and click here to view page two of additional images.

To read wall text from the exhibition please click here.

To read art object labels from the exhibition please click here.

To view selected events and programs for the exhibition please click here.


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For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists

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