Cover image for The art of Maurice Sendak : 1980 to the present
The art of Maurice Sendak : 1980 to the present
Kushner, Tony.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams, 2003.
Physical Description:
223 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 28 x 30 cm
General Note:
Companion volume to The art of Maurice Sendak by Selma Lanes, pub. by Harry Abrams in 1981.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC975.5.S44 K87 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Maurice Sendak ranks as one of the best known and loved children's book artists in the USA, and has been awarded both the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the Caldecott Medal. This volume picks up where Selma Lanes' monograph of his work The Art of Maurice Sendak, published in 1980, leaves off, tracing Sendak's life and work from 1980 to 2003. provides an intimate view of the artist. Kushner not only gives a chronological overview of Sendak's work, but also allows us to see him as an accomplished author and artist redefining his legacy, and as a man coming to terms with himself.

Author Notes

Playwright Tony Kushner was born in New York City and raised in Louisiana.

In addition to his plays, Kushner teaches at New York University and has co-written an opera with Bobby McFerrin.

Kushner is best known for Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, a two-part seven-hour play that has won many awards (two Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, two Drama Desk Awards, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award). It was also selected one of the ten best plays of the 20th century by London's Royal National Theatre.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

An assortment of books introduces art masterpieces, contemporary and historical. The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present by Tony Kushner takes an in-depth look at one of the most prominent artists within and beyond children's literature. Perhaps best known as the Caldecott-winning artist of Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak also wrote the libretto and produced theatrical set and costume designs for the opera version, plus posters, CD covers and much more. Picking up where The Art of Maurice Sendak (1981) left off, this volume includes a look at the artist's dark picture book, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, his witty illustrations for James Marshall's Swine Lake, his sets and character studies for the musical Really Rosie and the opera The Magic Flute, as well as his most recent work on the opera Brundibar and the picture book on which it is based, adapted by Kushner (see Children's Forecasts, Nov. 3). This elegant volume, lavishly filled with hundreds of Sendak's illustrations, including two expanded gatefold spreads (one from Dumps, and the other a watercolor study of the set for the Nutcracker ballet), is an enthusiastic celebration of the artist's work by an award-winning playwright and personal friend of Sendak. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This exquisite full-color book continues the evaluation of Sendak's work that began with Selma Lane's The Art of Maurice Sendak. This present volume surveys Sendak's life and later work "as a serious adult artist" from the last two decades. Recognized worldwide as the author of Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak is shown here as a more mature artist who wrestles with despair and self-doubt as he creates three of his more daring and disturbing children's picture books-Outside Over There, Dear Mili, and We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy. In addition to his picture books, Sendak's output is incredible, including sets, costumes, and lyrics for numerous operas; detailed storyboards of the operas, showing Sendak's understanding of pictorial narrative; several posters, magazine, book, and CD covers; and illustrations for adult books that display a ribald energy and sexuality. In addition to the detailed display and evaluation of these and other works, a televised interview with Sendak is reprinted in its entirety. Celebrated playwright Kushner's heartfelt evaluation of Sendak's work and personal observations bring Sendak, the person, alive for every reader. Essential.-David A. Berone, Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

It has been 20 years since Selma G. Lanes's The Art of Maurice Sendak (Abrams, 1998) provided a "picture biography" of this groundbreaking picture-book creator. This companion volume has the same coffee-table size and is as copiously illustrated, but its new page design and approach reflect the new directions in Sendak's career as an operatic "theater artist." Playwright Tony Kushner's "unapologetically subjective" paean is divided into a prologue and six movements. They include a recapitulation of Sendak's life and work to 1980; an analysis of the "trilogy" Outside Over There, Dear Mili, and We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy; brief mention of other books since 1981; and an extended analysis of Sendak's work in the opera world. Kushner's book is a more intimate portrait than Lanes's. It addresses not only Sendak's projects but also his aesthetics and psychology. Academic institutions with programs in the arts, even those without Lanes's book, will find the volume valuable.-Sue Burgess, Framingham State College, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Sendak's books are "still central to American children," not just the magical Where the Wild Things Are (1963), but any one or more of a score of other titles, writes playwright Kushner. "No one has combined word and image to better, more delightful effect." The industrious Sendak has also created books for adults and designed a significant number of plays, operas, and ballets. Kushner includes the typical biographical details, but he exploits his friendship to offer readers intriguing insights, psychological illuminations about Sendak's creative process. He probes the artist's recognition "of children's sexual curiosity" and of the use of nudity in such books as In the Night Kitchen (1970). This content is explored more fully in his adult works, like the illustrations for Heinrich von Kleist's Penthesilea (CH, Jun'99). Beyond a fascinating analytical text, the book is a feast of pictures: scores of tiny colored drawings fill the wide margins, while the pages present beautifully reproduced examples from the elaborate scope of works: sketches, story boards, posters, costume studies, book illustrations, etc. Studying these one can discover the questing nature of Sendak's mind and the talent he displays in using his visual imagination in telling stories. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. K. Marantz emeritus, Ohio State University