Friday, August 11, 2017
Glen Baxter is an artist who was born in Leeds, UK in 1944. Mr. Baxter primarily creates single panel absurdist cartoon panels that are available as collected works in many books. Original artwork is available from several Fine Art Galleries in the United States, England, and France. Mr. Baxter's work often features literary, domestic, and artistic themes combined in unlikely ways with typical British characters. Another favorite theme is the American West, where cowboys interact in unexpected ways with literature and modern art.
Unlike Edward Gorey who created artwork at the size it was intended to be published, Mr. Baxter's prefers to work in a Fine Art sensibility and his pieces range in size from 10" x 15" to massive 41" x 60" pieces. He works in pen & ink and also creates color pieces in pastel and crayon which give them a distinctive look. A number of images have been available as signed, limited edition prints.
Mr. Baxter's first solo art exhibition was held at the Gotham Book Mart in 1974. Edward Gorey attended the opening and was the first person to purchase Mr. Baxter's original artwork. Mr. Gorey acquired several originals at the GBM show and these remained in his personal art collection for the rest of his life. I have seen a lovely photograph of the two artists enjoying drinks and a laugh together at the opening.
At the time of the exhibition in 1974, Gotham Book Mart published Mr. Baxter's Fruits of the World in Danger. Fruits of the World was printed in a unnumbered limited edition of 300 staple bound copies in wrappers. The slim volume shows various fruits in situations that can only lead to disaster. It has been suggested that Fruits of the World inspired Edward Gorey's Menaced Objects, Dogear Wryde Postcards which was published in 1989.
Glen Baxter has published more than 20 books, and many are in print. The most recent volume is Almost Completely Baxter, New and Selected Blurtings . Published in 2016, this book includes black & white and color works.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Martin Landau died this past weekend at age 89. Mr. Landau played many roles over his long career including the title character in the 1985/85 national tour of the stage revival of Dracula. The tour featured the sets and costumes by Edward Gorey, and I was pleased to attend both performances of the play when it stopped at the Ordway Theater, St. Paul, MN in February 1985. Ten years later, Mr. Landau would once again inhabit the signature cape, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Wood. An article about the casting of Landau in the 1984 theatrical revival can be read HERE.
Monday, July 10, 2017
Gorey Stories was the short lived Broadway production which opened and closed on October 30, 1978. The show was later retooled as Tinned Lettuce (NYU student production 1983), Amphigorey (Off Broadway 1994), and The Gorey Details (Off Broadway 2000).
Some of the original artwork used for set and program designs from the later production has appeared at auction in recent years. Mr. Gorey's original artwork for the Playbill cover for Gorey Stories was sold at Swann Auction Galleries in January 2016. An interesting piece of original artwork by caricaturist Sam Norkin related to Gorey Stories recently surfaced.
Mr. Norkin created artwork to illustrate reviews for shows playing on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for out of town try-outs. His body of work has recently been offered over the course of several auctions and the shows represent a full spectrum of New York plays and musicals. One piece that caught my eye was created for Gorey Stories. I have acquired the piece, but as yet have not been able to ascertain if it actually appeared alongside a newspaper review. Several reviews of the show did appear in various New York papers, but so far I have only seen photographic illustrations accompanying them.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Saturday, June 24, 2017
John Bellairs fans will be excited to learn that The House With A Clock In Its Walls is being made into film. The book, the first of a series of supernatural tales by author John Bellairs, was published with a dust jacket and interior illustrations by Edward Gorey. The film will be directed by Eli Roth and star Jack Black. The film is expected in theaters in 2019. An article about the film can be found HERE. (The dust jacket pictured in the article was pulled from my May 7, 2009 blog post about the book)
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Swann Auction Galleries held an auction of Art, Press, & Illustrated Books on June 13. The auction included eleven lots of limited edition books, posters, and ephemera by Edward Gorey.
Starting the Gorey section was an ultra rare Doubtful Guest Doll with its original box from 1974. This limited edition doll was one of only four lettered examples.
Also of interest was a beautifully printed Elephant In Backstroke etching, and a piece of Dracula Damask wallpaper.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Of Cats and Men by Sam Kalda (2017 Ten Speed Press, California) is a delightful volume with profiles and quotes of thirty of history's notable "Cat Men". Included in the list are gentlemen from the thirteenth century to modern times, and this gathering includes such diverse luminaries as Nikola Tesla, Winston Churchill, Marlon Brando, and Freddie Mercury. Of course, no list of this sort would be complete without Edward Gorey and several men who inspired him, including George Balanchine, Edward Lear, and Balthus. This is a lovely book for any cat lover.