NE: Omaha

Book jacket of “Puss in Boots” by Fred Marcellino.

WHERE: Joslyn Art Museum.

WHEN: Through September 30, 2012.

TITLE: Dancing by the Light of the Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino

BRIEF ABOUT: Artist and designer Fred Marcellino (1939-2001) changed the look and feel of book covers for contemporary fiction before becoming an author and illustrator of award-winning children’s literature. He achieved early success as an illustrator and designer of record album covers before making his mark as a creator of elegant, eye-catching book jackets.

     In the mid-1980s, the Marcellino turned his attention to children’s book illustration; thusly in his style, bringing characters to life across the pages of a book, choosing manuscripts for their intrigue, action and humor. He researched and traveled extensively to ensure an authentic portrayal of time and place and he experimented with perspectives that placed readers in the middle of the action as well as above and below it.

“And hand in hand . . . sand, They danced by the light of the moon, . . . ” from The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense, 1995, watercolor, © Fred Marcellino.

     This exhibition features drawings and paintings for nine picture books including Puss in Boots; The Steadfast Tin Soldier; The Wainscott Weasel; I, Crocodile; and The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense, a collection of Edward Lear tales, among them The Owl and the Pussycat from which comes the sweetly familiar line: “They danced by the light of the moon.” Also on view is cover art for a dozen books including “The Bonfire of the Vanities” by Tom Wolfe, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and “The Accidental Tourist” by Anne Tyler.


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