Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reference Materials, Part 2

Moving on to the next batch of Edward Gorey reference materials which consists mainly of rare exhibition catalogs. Tracking exhibitions of an artist's work is an important way to establish provenance and to inform a collector about an artist. In this grouping, I am showing seven major Gorey exhibition catalogs, most of which contain brief essays about Mr. Gorey's work that do not appear in any other publications.

Phantasmagorey (back/center) - Yale University, Sterling Memorial Library, April 17 - September 27, 1974. This important exhibition catalog documents an early Gorey show organized by Clifford Ross. The show included books and a substantial amount of original artwork by Mr. Gorey, many pieces of which have not been exhibited anywhere else. The catalog features a an illustration on the cover created especially for this publication. My catalog is signed by EG.

Plain & Coloured Drawings (middle/left) - The first of two exhibitions at the Graham Gallery in New York, April 23 - May 18, 1974. This is Edward Gorey's first solo "Art" exhibition since his college days. Mr. Gorey only had three "Art" exhibitions in his lifetime where the drawings and paintings displayed was created exclusively for exhibition. The first was at the Mandrake Bookstore at Yale in the 1950's (I still have not been able to find out if this was a formal or informal exhibition), and the other two were at Graham. All other Gorey exhibitions have used collected materials, both published and unseen. The booklet for this exhibition shows five of the drawings which were displayed and has a short essay by Brendan Gill. My copy is inscribed by Mr. Gorey and has the separate, original mimeographed checklist of titles for the 46 pieces of original art that were displayed and for sale.

Problem Pictures (middle/right) - The announcement card for the second (and final) exhibition of original artwork created for the Graham Gallery in New York, December 2 - 31, 1975. My copy is signed and is accompanied by the original Graham printed envelope. One of the least satisfying of my collected exhibition materials, this announcement gives almost no information and shows little artwork. Preparing for a Fine Art show at a gallery had to be a daunting task for Edward Gorey, who was making his books and doing illustration projects at the same time as creating works for exhibition. To mount two solo gallery shows within 1.5 years is both an honor and stressful for any artist.

Drawings and Books by Edward Gorey (front/left) - The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, September 18 through October 27, 1968. Booklet and checklist for Gorey's first solo museum exhibition. My copy is inscribed to me by the curator. This item is discussed at length elsewhere in my blog.

Artist of Mystery (center) - April 21 - September 5, 1993, at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco, California. Signed/numbered limited edition of 526 copies, my copy is #48. This booklet contains an essay by Malcolm Whyte and a checklist for the books, original artwork and prints displayed at the museum.

Ephemera Etcetera (front/center) - Gotham Book Mart and Gallery. I am assuming that this show took place in 1975 since materials exhibited date no later than Fall 1974 and the front of the fold-out states that the exhibition runs "through April 5th", but is otherwise undated. This is a rare accordion-fold catalog/list of one of Gotham's early Gorey exhibitions. The catalog lists the 63 items shown in the gallery, most of which were recent at the time of the show. Gotham's shows of Gorey works were primarily exhibitions, and showcased many archival items to whet the appetite of collectors. Occasionally items on display were for sale, but most were shown for exhibition purposes only. Gotham rarely provided a checklist for items on display, so it was always a surprise and a delight to go to the gallery when I was in New York City. The nice thing about lists of this sort are that today's collector can get a sense of smaller, ephemeral items that were available and rarely make it into mainstream shows and catalogs.

Gorey World (front/right) - Exhibition catalog for the September 18, 1996 to January 12, 1997 exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco. Signed, limited edition catalog (my copy is #44 of 776 copies) for the second major Gorey exhibit at the museum. Once again, there is an essay by Malcolm Whyte in addition to the 86 listed items being displayed (some listings contain more than one item).

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