Maurice Sendak's Unreleased, Opera-Inspired Drawings and Prints

More

A look at the beloved children's author's more serious collaborations

[optional image description]
AP Images

After yesterday's bittersweetly funny Sendak remembrance, a trip to his more serious and obscure past: In 2003, Sendak collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner on Brundibar—a WWII children's opera, originally written by Czech composer Hans Krása, which the duo adapted into a book illustrated by Sendak and an opera for which Sendak designed the sets and costumes. But Sendak's fascination with the opera dated back some three decades, to the 1970s, when he began collaborating with printmaker Kenneth Tyler while working on sets and costumes for Mozart's The Magic Flute and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.

These operas inspired him to create a wealth of sketches, drawings, and watercolors. Some of them appeared in his beloved book Nutcracker and others were printed at Tyler Graphics between 1977 and 1984, and again in 2002, employing lithography and intaglio processes. But circumstances prevented any of these editions from being published. The inventory of rare proofs, collected here as the project's intaglio ghosts, was signed in 2002, and the prints divided three-ways between Sendak, to the National Gallery of Australia's Kenneth Tyler Print Collection, and to Tyler's own personal collection. Sendak went on to hand-watercolor some of the black-and-white intaglios, including Wild Thing and Ida.

1and2THIS.jpg

Wild thing, state (left) and state II

© Maurice Sendak


sen3.jpg

Queen of the night

© Maurice Sendak


sen4.jpg

Study for the magic flute

© Maurice Sendak


5and6THIS.jpg

Ida, state (left) and state VI

© Maurice Sendak


sen7.jpg

Nutcracker 1984

© Maurice Sendak


Jen Bekman Printeresting

Images courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia's Kenneth Tyler Print Collection

brainpickingslogo.jpg

This post also appears on Brain Pickings, an Atlantic partner site.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In