Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Have you ever wondered what kind of movie might be the result if someone fell asleep after reading Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies and dreamed a plot that was influenced by their pre-slumber reading? Watch the 2012 horror movie The Woman in Black with this concept in mind, and you will see one version of this dream film.
Apart from the first deaths (children falling, but not down the stairs like Amy), you will notice marked similarities with the letters J, M, R, Q, & V throughout the film. The exterior and interior of the remote house where the main plot takes place is straight out of a crosshatched drawing by Mr. Gorey. Even the title character looks like she stepped directly out of an illustration. Guaranteed to produce fidgets if you enter into the spirit of the film.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In 1976 Workman Publishing published, Cat Catalog, The Ultimate Cat Book, edited by Judy Fireman. This large book (it measures 9" x 11.5", hardcover with dust jacket) is a compendium of all things Cat. Not surprisingly, after the popularity of Amphigorey in 1972 and Categor y in 1974, Edward Gorey was asked to contribute a piece about cats for the publication.
Mr. Gorey created a two page diptych that appears at the very front of the volume. Each page contains a dozen vignettes of cats "in a variety of unlikely pursuits". The plotting and planning of these two panels is beautifully organized and executed. Each vignette is surrounded by a border in which the hand lettered title winds its way around the image. There are arrows in the border corners guiding the reader, and the piece as a whole has a maze like feel where the viewer feels satisfaction for figuring out the path to enlightenment.
This untitled diptych was published in 1979 by Workman Publishing as half of Dancing Cats & Neglected Murderesses (see my post from November 8, 2009). Unfortunately, the charm of the original work was greatly reduced in the new publication. Each panel is shown without borders on its own page, and the titles are captioned in a standard font on facing pages. The 1979 printing appears to not have had Edward Gorey's direct involvement in the layout or execution, and it suffers greatly when compared to this presentation.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
On January 23, I did an extended post about Edward Gorey's 1974 Graham Gallery Exhibition. In the post, I asked if anyone with missing images would please forward them for inclusion. Andreas Brown, a trustee of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, fortunately ran across a folder of xeroxed images made by Mr. Gorey in the archive which included many pieces from this exhibition. Mr. Brown very generously shared his findings to be included in this posting.
I have added the new pieces to the list below. The quality on some of the xerox copies is poor (especially the later Cat pieces) and, while some of the pieces are color, all of the xeroxes are black and white. Their inclusion, however, presents the most complete understanding of this seminal exhibition by Edward Gorey to date.
As of this writing, there are still no images for pieces #1, 10, 16, 20, 24 & 45.
1. Trying to feed the baby to the dog
2. Two children on a rock
4. Chinese life
Dancing on the Sabbath
Animals and wall
7. China design: picnic
8. Birds and car
Animals and train
10. Ballet dancer on skull
11. Football player with skull
12. Bathroom wallpaper design
13. Animals and urn
14. After a Staffordshire sugarbowl
15. Child on swing
16. The white butterfly
17. A dull afternoon
18. Platter design
19. Man and floating skull
20. Unpleasant fan design
21. Blue urns
22. Plain & Coloured Drawings (cover of booklet)
23. Verso: Plain & Coloured Drawings (rear cover of booklet)
24. Discrete self-portrait
25. Tennis (This is a guess - I have not confirmed that this is the correct image)
26. Animal going to a party
27. Animal holding banner
28. String dance I - IIII
29. Cat on cardboard rocks
30. Cat with umbrella and flower
31. Cat wearing long scarf
32. Cat inside empty picture frame
33. Cat drawing wallpaper
34. Cat between andirons
35. Cat on mantelpiece
36. Cat in portable niche
37. Cat at the devil's thimble
38. Masked cat behind pillar
39. Masked cat dancing beside pool
40. Cat at the corner of a carpet
41. Cat composing a poem
42. Cat appearing between parting clouds
43. Cat ascending on a piece of stage machinery
44. Ninety nine puppies wearing orange knitted caps
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Vampires - Two Centuries of Great Vampire Stories, is a collection of Vampire stories edited by Alan Ryan which was published in 1987 by Doubleday& Company. This book features a dust jacket design by Edward Gorey that is unique in his illustration career.
At first glance, the images adorning the front and back of the dust jacket appear to be color paintings by Edward Gorey. For those familiar with Mr. Gorey's works, the images are recognizable as pieces from his series of Fine Art etchings. In 1987, only stalwart collectors would have been familiar with his etchings, which could only be obtained through Gotham Book Mart. Since the etchings are printed in black ink, did Mr. Gorey recreate them for this use, or are they something different altogether?
Upon close examination of the prints and the images on the dust jacket, you will see that they are identical - all the dots, lines, shadows and highlights are exactly the same in both images. The bat image has been turned slightly, but it is the same image. The only solution is that Mr. Gorey took a couple of extra prints and hand colored them for this book cover. The coloration added to the cover image slightly obscures the black and white printing, so Mr. Gorey either used pastels or opaque water color paints to color this image. The more dramatic coloring on the bat indicates that he used water color paints on top of a print. This is the only instance I know of where Edward Gorey used one of his Fine Art prints and altered it for use in his commission work.