Sendak: Drawing the Curtain

“Where the Wild Things Are,” Diorama 3.  ©The Maurice Sendak Foundation. Courtesy: The Morgan Library & Museum.

Renowned for his beloved children’s books, Maurice Sendak (1928–2012) was also an avid music and opera lover. In the 1970s, he embarked on a successful second career as a designer of sets and costumes for the stage, an era the Morgan Library & Museum explores in Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet.

Although less well known than his book illustrations, Sendak’s drawings for the stage embody his singular hand, fantastical mode of storytelling, keen—sometimes bawdy—sense of humor, and profound love of music and art history – exhibition notes.

Storyboard for “The Love for Three Oranges.”  © The Maurice Sendak Foundation. Courtesy: The Morgan Library & Museum.

Running June 14 through Oct. 6, 2019, the exhibition includes storyboards, preparatory sketches, costume studies, luminous watercolors, and meticulous dioramas from Mozart’s Magic Flute, Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and an opera based on Sendak’s picture book Where the Wild Things Are.

See a previous Art Junkie post on Sendak, here.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, here.

Exhibition site, here.

Illustration on the Video: Maurice Sendak, Design for Ship (Nutcracker), 1982-4, gouache and graphite pencil on paper. © The Maurice Sendak Foundation. The Morgan Library & Museum, Bequest of Maurice Sendak, 2013.107:289. Photography by Janny Chiu.

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