Monday, April 30, 2012

More on the 2012 Edward Gorey House Show

 The 2012 Edward Gorey House show, The Envelope Art of Edward Gorey features Mr. Gorey's hand decorated envelopes sent to Peter Neumeyer in 1968/'69. While these important pieces are, by themselves, worth a trip to the museum, there is a lot more to see at this show than just this amazing collection. Note: the individual envelopes pictured here are presented courtesy of the Edward Gorey House.

Edward Gorey created fanciful correspondence from his earliest days when he went away to college. Letters written to his mother and close friends are gathered together for the first time in this show, giving us an intimate view of the budding young artist. Until recently, the style of drawing on these envelopes has only been seen by collectors in his earliest published works; the books of Merrill Moore (see my posting from October 22, 2008), and The Unstrung Harp (October 11, 2008 posting). Young Edward also had his first art exhibition at the Mandrake Book Shop while in college (October 10, 2008 posting). After this time, Gorey altered the way he drew figures, moving away from the elongated heads of his early creations. In the years to come, his creatures - notably the Doubtful Guest and Figbash, would form a visual link to these early works.
Also on display for the first time are selections from a series of envelopes sent to one friend, beginning in 1974. These fantastic pieces of art were drawn and watercolored on the fronts of envelopes which contained single line, hand lettered quotes which referred to recent conversations between the two men. The recipient quickly noticed that each envelope he received was numbered, and a notebook was found in Mr. Gorey's home after his death in which he kept track of the correspondence. Previously, the only glimpse of these remarkable pieces was in a New Yorker feature from July 8, 2002.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Edward Gorey House Opens

The Edward Gorey House opened its 2012 show on April 15th. Always a delight, this season's show concentrates on Mr. Gorey's illustrated correspondence with friends, family and associates. At the core of the exhibition are the thirty colorful envelopes Mr. Gorey sent to Peter Neumeyer, author of the Gorey-illustrated "Donald" books. The envelopes and correspondence are featured in the book Floating Worlds, and this is a rare opportunity to see the works in person.

For more information on this unique exhibition, visit

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gorey Preserved Exhibition at Columbia University

On Friday April 13th, Bill, myself and a friend viewed the Gorey Preserved Exhibiton at Columbia University in New York City - an appropriate day to take in the exhibit! Presented on campus in the Rare Books Room of the Butler Library, the exhibit features many items from the Edward Gorey archive donated to the library in 2010 by collector Andrew Alpern.

Mr. Gorey himself greets you as you enter the exhibition, his face bemusedly looking out from the hood of one of his fur coats. He has an "if you must come in, come in" expression, and you can almost hear him sighing over all the fuss as you walk past (Mr. Alpern is shown standing next to "Mr. Gorey" in a photograph taken at the opening reception).

The items on display are thoughtfully presented in wall cases and are grouped by general themes - Dracula, Children's Books, Elephants, Christmas, etc. The display put me in mind of the annual Gotham Book Mart shows of Mr. Gorey's works, where you saw familiar pieces mixed with more unusual and ephemeral items. Rare and unusual items are presented alongside related newspaper clippings and mass produced do-dads, giving the exhibition a wonderful hide-and-seek feel. The viewer has to stop and pay attention to each item, or you might miss a gem.
Mr. Alpern was an inclusive collector, preserving everything from bookmarks and tee-shirts, to hand colored postcards and hard to find books and posters. The library provides a ten page check list of the items on display, so you can identify individual items on display and refresh your memory after you leave the exhibit. The checklist also has four color photographs at the end, which is a lovely addition.

There were several pieces on display that I had not seen before, including some interesting wood block elephant prints and theatrical pin-back buttons. I was thrilled to finally see a tee-shirt for the "New York Kitty Ballet" featuring two cats performing a Pas de Deux - I own the original artwork from this shirt (see my posting from January 16, 2011), but have never actually seen how it was used.

There are a number of items borrowed from the Edward Gorey Estate which are mixed in with Mr. Alpern's treasures. My favorite was a small piece of original artwork which Mr. Gorey drew for use as a book plate for Thomas Cass Canfield.

Gorey Preserved is on display until July 27, 2012. There is no charge to see the exhibit, but you do have to check in to enter the building. This is a not to be missed exhibition - go now!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Edward Gorey on Anitques Roadshow

This evening's installment of Antiques Roadshow on PBS featured a collection of Edward Gorey items. The immensely popular appraisal show was taped in El Paso Texas on June 8, 2011 (each season is taped the preceding summer). The items shown included limited edition books, a theatrical poster and a hand made Figbash doll. Book dealer Ken Sanders conducted the appraisal. It was nice to see a lovely display of Gorey items being featured.

To see more about this appraisal, go to

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fine Art Prints, Part 14 - The Posthumous Prints

This post completes the entire list of Fine Art prints and etchings created by Edward Gorey. I have been told that there are a few more etching plates which were prepared by Mr. Gorey, but these have not been printed.

Each of the etchings shown were printed in an edition of 99 numbered and 26 lettered prints (see note on print #212) Unless otherwise noted, the prints shown are available for purchase from The Edward Gorey House.

#209 - Boy w/Tassel - This is a fantastic image!
#210 - Dog on Rock
#211 - Dog on Rock #2
#212 - Garden Ornament - Edition of 99 numbered prints - no lettered edition was printed. SOLD OUT - This print was originally offered by Gotham Book Mart in 2004, and the remaining prints were sold by The Edward Gorey House.
#213 - Twisted Creature - I love both of the Twisted Creature prints. They remind me of Mr. Gorey's Fantods.
#214 - Twisted Creature #2