About Maurice Sendak Beyond concerns with where the Wild Things Are
Best known for his children's book WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE AND night KITCHEN, Maurice Sendak has spent the last fifty years, bringing to life a world of fantasy and imagination. His unique vision is loved throughout the world by both young and old. Besides his work as an award-winning writer and illustrator of children's books, Sendak has produced both operas and ballets for television and theater.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, Sendak was a frail and sickly child. Spending much of his young life on the inside, he turned to books at an early age. His vision of the outside world was often limited to the family who came to visit him and what little he could see from his window. It was during this time that he began drawing and let your imagination run free. With twelve years he was with his family to see Walt Disney's FANTASIA. This world of animation, built entirely of invented characters and fantasy, he had a great influence on him.
Throughout high school, Sendak has continued to draw, and after graduating, he published a handful of illustrations in the book for the millions ATOMICS. In 1948, he began working for FAO Schwartz as a window dresser and remained there for four years taking night classes at New York Art Students League. After finding work, illustrating Marcel Ayme is a wonderful and RANCH Ruth Krauss s Hole is digging, FAO Schwartz Sendak left to become full-time freelance illustrator of children's book.
Throughout the 1950s, Sendak worked regularly, producing about fifty children's books illustrated s. He saw the illustration of the book the opportunity to broaden the reader's imaginary world. While many illustrators focused on clarifying the images in the text, Sendak believed that an illustration should add to the mystery of the work. His grotesque characters seemed strangely strangely inviting in its imperfections. Unlike most of Disney cartoons and illustration that followed, artistic images Sendak brought a conscious attention to its origins and its creator.
Until the early 1960s, Sendak has gained a following in one of the most expressive and interesting illustrators in the business. In 1963, his book, where the wild things, brought him international fame and a place among the great illustrators of the world. For this project, Sendak worked as both illustrator and writer. It is the story of a boy named Max who is sent to his room only to find his imagination has created a new world there, populated by wild places and monsters of all kinds. Initially, the graphical representation of things toothy game concerned parents, but soon he was a favorite of children everywhere, having been translated into fifteen languages \u200b\u200band sold over two million copies.
In the following years, Sendak has created dozens of popular children's books, including one of its best known, in the night kitchen (1970). In late 1970, Sendak turned his attention to other forms. While continuing to write and illustrate, Sendak began to produce and design performance. Incorporating much of the same creative design, which made his books so popular, Sendak put a series of operas, including Mozart The Magic Flute of Prokofiev and Love for Three Oranges. In 1979, he turned his book, where the wild things are in a popular opera, and four years later designed a winning production of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker.
Over the past fifty years, Maurice Sendak has been most vocal in challenging and consistently inventive children's literature. His books and productions are among the best beloved of imaginative works of his time. Like the Grimm brothers before him, Sendak created a body of work both entertaining and educational, which will continue to be popular for generations.
Maurice Sendak 80th year - which ended with his birthday at the beginning of been and will be celebrated on Monday evening with a performance at the 92nd Street Y - was difficult. He was seized by grief since the death of his longtime partner, a recent triple bypass has temporarily left too weak to work or take long walks with his dog, and he is plagued Norman Rockwell.
Or to be more precise, it is plagued by the question that has repeatedly been asked about Norman Rockwell: was he a great artist or mere illustrator?
Mere illustrator, \he said, repeating the phrase with contempt. This n is not that Mr. Sendak, who illustrated over 100 books, including many he wrote, is angry that people question Rockwell's talent, but rather, he fears that there has not exceeded the mere illustrator label itself.
Never forget that Mr. Sendak originality and emotional honesty have changed the shape of children's literature, his work is featured in museums, that he designed costumes and decorations for operas, ballets and theater, that he earned a chest full of awards and prizes including the National Medal of the Arts. As the playwright Tony Kushner, one of his collaborators, said: It is one of the largest, if not the most important writers and artists, always working in children's literature. In fact, he is a writer and an important artist in literature. Period.
Mr. Sendak protested, \But Tony is my friend.
Mr. Sendak, a square-shaped gnome, was sitting in the dining room of his Connecticut retreat. The shoulders are a bit stooped, but his fingers are long and delicate. When he hears that the 92nd Street Y event is sold out, his eyebrows rising surprise.
They must be coming to see other people, he said, referring to guests like Mr. Kushner, Meryl Streep, James Gandolfini, Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers and Catherine Keener.
Even his heart attack does not seem up to it. People are not impressed with a triple bypass, he lamented, now there must be a quadruple: You feel like such a failure.
That Mr. Sendak fears that his work is insufficient, that he is prey to insecurity and anxiety, n is not a surprise. For over 50 years has been the hallmark of his art. L extermination of most members of his family and millions other Jews by the Nazis; s intrusive, unemployed immigrants who survived and crowded his apartment small parents, his sickly childhood; dark moods of his mother, his own ever-present depression - all can feel below the surface of his work, often breaking into carefully drawn, fantastical ways.
N It is not, as authors of books for children are often assumed, a grandfather of each man. His hatreds are fierce and grand, that s it is produced by Cecil B. DeMille. He hates his uncle (who made a cruel comment to him when he was a boy), he hates anything to do with God or religion, and Judaism in particular ( We were the \chosen people\, chosen to being killed? ), he hates Salman Rushdie (for writing an excoriating review of one of his books), he hates syrupy animation, which is why it is very happy with the upcoming film Mr. Jonze of his book Where the Wild Things Are , despite rumors of studio discontent.
I hate people, \he said at one point, extolling the company top dogs, like his German shepherd soft character, Herman (after Melville).
It is basically a grumpy, but a delicious, with a wide range of knowledge, a sense of humor and a talent for storytelling and mimicry.
When Mr. Sendak received the 1996 National Medal of Arts, President Bill Clinton said on one of his own childhood fantasies that involved wearing a long coat with brass buttons when he grew up.
But Mr. President, you are only going to be president for another year, , Mr. Sendak said, , you still have time be a porter.
Mr. Sendak insisted that he was trying to ingratiate himself, not funny.
Against all probability, some of the nightmares that n have ceased to pursue since childhood - like Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932 - were put to rest. A couple of weeks ago a dealer found the a tiny reproductions of wide kidnapper who were sold as souvenirs at the trial in New Jersey.
J have been impressed said Mr. Sendak. He traded one of his drawings for him. That ends my obsession with case, \he said.
His fascination for kidnapping, like many other details of his life, has been repeated endlessly over the years hundreds of interviews that it has given. Is there something that there had never been asked? He s stopped a moment and replied: \Well, I'm gay.
I did not think it was a business person,\ Mr. Sendak added. He lived with Eugene Glynn, a psychoanalyst, for 50 years before Dr. Glynn's death in May 2007. N It has never told his parents: \All I wanted, it was to be straight so my parents could be happy. They don have never, ever, ever known.
Protecting children against their parents, Mr. Sendak said. It was like the time he had a heart attack at 39. His mother was dying of cancer at hospital, and he decided to keep the news to himself, something that he now regrets.
A gay artist in New York n is not exactly uncommon, but Mr. Sendak said that idea a gay man writing children books would have hurt her career when he was in his 20s and 30s.
His latest book is that it he started four years ago, right after Dr. Glynn became sick with lung cancer. Disease and the establishment of the clock care in their homes were simply so incredible , \he said. Mr. Sendak is mostly finished with it, but he admitted that for the first time, I feel extremely vulnerable.
He is afraid - not of death, which is as familiar to him as a child teddy bear - but not being able to complete his work: \I feel like I don not have much time.
After Dr. Glynn's death, Mr. Sendak said that he was \still trying to figure out what I'm doing here.
I wanted to take his place, he said. Her death became a demarcation line. He added that he had lost contact with several of his friends, unable to return calls and answer e-mail.
Mr. Sendak is pleased with the feast of birthday to come, as it is his awards and honors, but in the end, he maintained, they don add little. They n have never penetrated, \he said. \They were like rubber bullets.
This n is not that there is not grateful. \They m have made him happy, but at some point in your life, you see through them,\ he said. You don have not s in fun, you do not hate them, you feel sorry for them \- tiny, inert emblems that just are not the task of responding to pressing questions about meaning, affecting the size soul and sustainability.
So he spends his days meditating his heroes: Mozart, Keats, Blake, Melville and Dickinson. He s admire and aspire to their \ability to be private, the ability be alone, the ability to follow spiritual paths n is not written by n anyone.
Mr. Sendak is quick to insist that the distance between large stands his own accomplishments and theirs. I'm not one of those people, \he said. I can not pretend be.
Yet he feels that , I'll do something again that is purely for me but for someone to create a future that passion that Blake and Keats did in me.
What he overlooked, however, it is that he may already have.
About Maurice Sendak
Beyond concerns with where the Wild Things Are
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