How We Live Now: Picturing Everyday Life in Children's Book Illustations

Dec 05, 2009 - May 23, 2010
Duvoisin Gallery

From the 1960s onward, technical improvement in image reproduction and growing social awareness combined to produce a growing number of children’s books that reflect the diversity of American people and ways of life. Selected illustrations from the Zimmerli Art Museum’s collection exemplify this trend. Roger Duvoisin’s painterly gouache illustrations for It’s Time Now (1969) casually capture the feeling of street life in the city. John Thompson’s realistic black and white illustrations for The Liquid Trap (1976), a short novel for young readers, provide a more literal portrait of a girl’s visit with her family in the south. Barbara Beirne, E. B. Lewis, and Stephen T. Johnson were inspired by young people from their neighborhoods, rather than professional models, to create vibrant and authentic images of young people engaged in sport activities. Illustrations by Catherine Stock depict subjects ranging from a small boy’s relationship with neighbors, Miss Viola and Uncle Ed Lee (1999), to the unexpected pregnancy of a teen-aged girl in Doll Baby (2000). Books related to the illustrations are on view in the gallery, along with hands-on activities for visitors.

Organized by Gail Aaron, Assistant Curator of Original Illustrations for Children’s Books

Catherine Stock

Original illustration for Miss Viola and Uncle Lee

Watercolor on paper.

Gift of the artist, © Catherine Stock

Used by permission of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing Division

Photo Peter Jacobs