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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
Caroline W. Smith
Chase Robert M
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Illustrator by day, surrealist by night, Ted Geisel created a body of previously little-known work during his leisure hours that he called his "Midnight Paintings," and which is now known as "The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss." This irrepressible and soulful collection redefines Ted Geisel as an iconic American artist. For sixty years, his "Secret Art" allowed Geisel to expand his artistic boundaries without the confines and pressures of commercial deadlines and influences. These paintings afforded the peaceful distraction that he craved, and through this work, the tenets of surrealism--surprise and juxtaposition--energized his sensibilities.
This volume exuberantly juxtaposes Geisel's "Midnight Paintings" with his best-loved children's books because this was how Dr. Seuss constructed his creative life--his days devoted to literature for children, his nights to letting his mind and palette wander to even stranger shores. Inevitably, Geisel created images in his private artworks that would find their way into his literary projects. Though he fiercely protected his "Secret Art" from criticism during his lifetime, his intention all along was for these works to be seen when he was gone.
It is downright absurd to make an art book on Dr. Seuss that attempts a straight chronology on the life and work of this multitalented author, illustrator, painter, sculptor, political cartoonist, adman, doodler, practical joker, and Cat Behind the Hat. Chronology is, in this case, an elusive term. His life meanders between so many facets of artistic impulses, with images cross-pollinating over years and even decades, that the chronological line of his life is as dippy and curved as the architectural elements of a house in "Who"-ville.
Therefore, this book is "chronological-ish." That is to say, some things come at the right time and some at the wrong time. But just as Dr. Seuss taught us to look at life "through the wrong end of a telescope," the iconic artwork packed into these pages helps us understand that it isn't always a straight line from here to there that matters . . . but rather the fun of the journey that really counts.
As Early as It Gets
"Dr. Seuss and His Midnight Paintings"
"Advertising and Editorial Work"
"Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy "
"Secrets of the Deep"
"The War Years"
No Longer Early
"The Post-War Years"
"La Jolla Birdwomen"
A Little Later
"The Cat Behind the Hat"
A Smidge Later Than That
"Happy Birthday To You "
Somewhat Later Still
"Green Eggs and Ham"
As Late as it Gets
"Oh, the Places You'll Go "
This book is published by Chase Art Companies and distributed by Andrews McMeel Publishing.
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