Saturday, September 15, 2018

What is Life?

"We only bought it for the articles."

Since it inception in 1953, this was the (often true) explanation for picking up a copy of Playboy Magazine. Over the years, the enticing mix of titillation, culture, and intellectual writing kept the population entertained and informed. The magazine also provided an influential outlet for artists and illustrators to earn their living. From 1963 to 1988, Mr. Gorey illustrated a number of stories in Playboy. What is Life? a work of fiction by Robert Sheckely appeared in the December 1979 issue.

While out for a ramble in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, a man named Mortonson is asked the intriguing question by a disembodied voice. Edward Gorey's humorous illustration shows the protagonist pondering the meaning of it all.

As a humorous aside, Mr. Sheckley's 1968 novel Dimension of Miracles has been cited as an inspiration for Douglas Adams' 1978 novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Adams claimed in interviews to have not read Dimensions until after Hitchhiker's was published, even though the books are described as "disturbingly similar". In Hitchhiker's, the answer to the question Mortonson is contemplating in What is Life? is 42.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Back To School

Devilish Teacher by Edward Gorey. This unpublished drawing was included in the 1996 exhibition Gorey World at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dracula Exhibition

Arts Brookfield in Houston Texas will be hosting Dracula!, an exhibition featuring production materials, artwork, sets pieces and costumes from the Alley Theater's 2014 production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. The exhibition will run from September 13 through November 9. For more information about the exhibition, go HERE.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mark Baker

Actor Mark Baker, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his 1973 title role in director Hal Prince's Candide has passed. Mr. Baker was also well received in the international tour of Grand Hotel in which he played the role of Otto Kringelein.

Fans of Edward Gorey's theatrical endeavors fondly remember Mr. Baker as one of the talented company of players in Amphigorey, A Musicale. The 1994 Off Broadway production ran at the Perry Street Theater in New York City. Mr. Baker was 71.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Gorey's Worlds ... Again!

Gorey's Worlds, the exhibition mounted by The Wadsworth Atheneum earlier this year, will be on display at the David Owsley Mueum of Art in Muncie, Indiana from September 28 through December 23 (museum exhibition information HERE).

This stellar exhibition features original artwork, prints, and photographs collected by Edward Gorey during his lifetime which he bequeathed to the Wadsworth. These pieces, which decorated Mr. Gorey's home, informed and inspired his own artwork. Also included in the exhibition are rare original pieces of Mr. Gorey's own work.

*** Color dust wrapper design by Edward Gorey for Haunted America (collection Wadsworth Atheneum, gift of Edward Gorey)
*** Photograph by Eugene Atget (collection Wadsworth Atheneum, gift of Edward Gorey)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Edward Gorey House Envelope Contest

It is time once again for the Edward Gorey House Envelope Art Contest. Anyone can enter for the cost of a stamp and an envelope! All ages are encouraged to get creative and send in a decorated envelope! Full contest details are here:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Frog On An Urn

Long hot summer days often lead to inactivity and contemplation. This unpublished piece of original artwork by Edward Gorey exemplifies slowing down the hectic pace of life. A forgotten urn resides on a gently sloping, unkempt landscape with wispy clouds gently floating past. The only witness to this tranquil day is a wide eyed frog positioned atop the urn.

This beautifully rendered pen & ink drawing was originally intended for a book by Edward Gorey but either the book or the drawing were abandoned along the way. Mr. Gorey later presented this drawing to a personal friend. On artwork created for Mr. Gorey's "A" collection books, there will be a hand written date on the reverse side indicating when it was drawn. If a drawing was completed over several days, there is a start date and a finish date. When completed in a single day, there is only one date indicated. This drawing was created on October 1, 1984. Searching Mr. Gorey's published works near (and after) this date, I have not been able to determine what future book it might have been intended for. One possibility would be The Improvable Landscape (1986).

 In this drawing, Edward Gorey's talent and skillful manipulation of line is supremely evident. The presence of the contemplative frog atop the urn adds an endearing touch to the work.