Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2016...Hello 2017!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Time to Decorate

Don't be left behind this holiday season...Time to decorate the dog for Christmas. Gertrude Stein loved large dogs, but this one is enormous!

This is a limited edition christmas card by Edward Gorey for the Albondacani Press. Signed by Mr. Gorey on the back.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey Returns to the Stage

This past spring, Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey was conceived and produced by Life Jacket Theater Company in New York City. The show was an immediate success and is being presented again in a limited Off-Broadway production in NYC from December 14, 2016 through January 14, 2017.

This fantasy memoir blends fact and fiction to portray Edward Gorey throughout various stages of his life. The three "Edwards" interact together throughout the evening, commenting and conversing with one another. The original production was a great success, so performances of this remounting are sure to sell out.

For more information visit
To purchase tickets, go HERE.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Cat

This is the 500th post to appear on Goreyany. In honor of this milestone, we take a look at Edward Gorey's signature Cats.

Edward Gorey was a lifelong animal lover and was especially fond of cats, who were a source of artistic inspiration and also his constant companions. Mr. Gorey began drawing cats at an early age, and surviving examples from his childhood and teenage years include images of cats. The cat in knit scarf and hat is was drawn when Gorey was 14.

Mr. Gorey's drawing style went through a number of refinements over the the course of his career. Cats that were realistically depicted became more stylized as his artistic talents matured. Gorey’s cats were often exaggerated to convey the personality of the feline he was portraying. There were plump pussys sleeping peacefully, while their less well-fed cousins prowled out of doors looking lean and alert.

Edward Gorey occasionally created realistic and sensitive cat "portraits" such as the well fed and very relaxed Fletcher and Zenobia which adorned the 1980 wedding invitation of friend and Gotham Book Mart employee P. Matthew Monaghan.

In 1970, The Sopping Thursday was published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Gotham Book Mart. In the book, realistically drawn cats and dogs are part of the story and appear in many of the drawings. The publication included a deluxe edition of 26 lettered copies, each accompanied by a piece of original artwork. In this suite of drawings, letters F & H feature realistically drawn cats similar to the felines pictured in the book. Copy V is accompanied by a drawing that includes an alligator wearing a mourning band around one leg and letter E shows a small garden snake draped on an iron fence. Copies B, G, J, K, N, R, X, and Z show a short, stubby, stylized dog in out in the rain. The remaining copies, letters A, B, C, D, I, L, M, O, P, Q, S, T, U, W, and Y show a brand new style of cat that Gorey had not drawn before.

The cat featured in these drawings is a short, vaguely humanoid figure with virtually no tail and a large, human, beak shaped nose. This is a transitional creature, and is Gorey’s first major attempt to anthropomorphize a cat that reads as “cat” but also reads as human. Because of its prominent nose, the creature is vaguely disconcerting rather than cuddly like the dog in the other drawings. This cat is a visual stepping stone towards the the cute feline that will emerge two years later as the Gorey Cat.

The next cat development occurs with Sam and Emma, a 1971 book written by Donald Nelson and illustrated by Edward Gorey (see my post from October 18, 2016). Even though Emma the cat has a rough coat and wears minimal clothing, her facial features and gracefulness have become more recognizably "cat". With Emma, Mr. Gorey has confidently moves one step closer to the feline of his (and our) dreams.

Edward Gorey’s signature “Gorey Cat” bursts onto the scene in 1972 with the publication of Amphigorey, the first anthology of his published works. Gorey has refined and perfected his Cat specifically for Amphigorey. The Cat appears multiple times within the dust jacket design, cavorting amongst the large letters spelling out the title of the volume. This is not an individual cat, but a whole new species of feline that will appear singly and in groups in Mr. Gorey's art for the rest of his life.

The Amphigorey Cat is plump with an unusually large round head. His whiskers are prominent and he has a graceful sense of balance. This Cat has a mischievous expression and is almost always seen wearing clothing - dance leg warmers, a knitted scarf, or (most often) a striped long-sleeved sweater. This cat is always curious and never cross or out of sorts.
To accompany the publication in of Amphigorey in 1972, Gorey produced a deluxe edition of 50 copies each of which is slipcased, signed and numbered. As he did with the deluxe edition of The Sopping Thursday, each of the fifty copies was issued with an original drawing. Every drawing for this series features the Cat - each drawing was numbered to match the number of the book it accompanied. In 1974, the drawings were published as Categor y.

After its introduction in this publication, Edward Gorey continued to draw the Amphigorey Cat for the rest of his life. Gorey rarely drew realistic felines from this time forward, preferring his playful pussy which was capable of astonishing feats of balance, dance and levitation. The Amphigorey Cat became a favorite character and appeared in multiple publications including the covers of each Amphigorey anthology. In his imaginative illustrations for T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the Amphigorey Cat takes center stage. Amphigorey Cats also appear on New York City Ballet merchandise, his fine art pieces for the Graham Gallery Exhibitions, and as bookmarks and postcards made for Gotham Book Mart. The Cat also was brought to life as a three dimensional bean bag animal and a plush stuffed toy.

When someone mentions an Edward Gorey cat, the Amphigorey Cat is the cat they are talking about.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Frawgge Mfg. Co.

Edward  Gorey created The Frawgge Mfg. Co. illustration for the Winter 1994 issue of a magazine called Your Company. This now iconic image is a full page illustration which accompanies an article outlining the pitfalls of being part of a family owned business concern when things go wrong. This is yet another example of Mr. Gorey creating a major piece of illustration art which was used one time in a magazine very few people have heard of.

Frogs held a fascination for Edward Gorey. He collected rocks that reminded him of frogs, sewed beanbag frog dolls, and included whimsical frogs in many illustrations. The Frawgge Mfg. Co. illustration takes the subject of frogs to new levels. Every surface and object in the scene is either shaped like a frog or is decoratively covered in frogs.  Recognizing the complexity and detail in this image, the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust authorized the creation of a jigsaw puzzle using this piece. To truly appreciate the beauty of this image, spend a few hours making the puzzle!

Edward Gorey also created a delightful spot illustration for this magazine piece to accompany the sidebar entitled Patching Things Up, which gives advice on how to rebuild broken bridges.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tammy Grimes

We say goodbye to actress Tammy Grimes (January 30, 1934 - October 30, 2016) who passed away at age 82. Ms. Grimes performed in theater, television, and movies, and will probably be best remembered for her Tony Award winning performance as the title character in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Ms. Grimes will also be remembered by fans of Edward Gorey as the narrator of Gorey by Grimes, an obscure 1980 collectible record on which she reads various works by Mr. Gorey.

To hear The Gashlycrumb Tinies read by Ms. Grimes, go HERE.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sam and Emma

It is rare that the reprint of an illustrated children's book is cause for celebration, but such is the case with Sam and Emma by Donald Nelson. Originally published in 1971 by Parents Magazine Press, this title is illustrated by Edward Gorey. Created during an exceptionally prolific time in Mr. Gorey's career, the book is lavishly illustrated with over 30 beautifully executed watercolor paintings.

The title characters, a gentle dog and critical cat, travel together and visit woodland creatures. Through their encounters, the cat learns to become more tolerant of creatures different from herself.

While the original printing of this title is include in most Edward Gorey collections, it is rarely a cherished volume. This is because the printing quality of the book is downright poor (see photo above). The pictures are fuzzy and out of focus giving the viewer the impression that they need glasses. For the new printing (Dover Publications Inc. 2016, see photo at the top of this post), The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust has used the original paintings from the archives and had them newly photographed. The artwork in this new printing has been very carefully executed and the paintings appear fresh and alive.

A curious feature of this volume is Edward Gorey's rendering of Emma, the critical feline. Emma's appearance in this book is a direct precursor to the Amphigorey Cat - the ubiquitous cat which will come to be known as the signature Gorey Cat. Emma is drawn with a rough coat of fur, white paws and wears a scarf and beaded necklace, but the shape of her body, tail, head, and face are almost exactly like the streamlined Amphigorey Cat which will make its official appearance one year later.

Up to this time, Mr. Gorey drew cats in a (more or less) realistic manner. Beginning with Sam And Emma, his cats took on a more vigorous and distinctive personality. Emma is seen lounging, balancing, dancing, and tripping lightly through the book in a way that will become the hallmark behavior of the Amphigorey Cat. It is also amusing to note that other animals in Sam And Emma wear bits and pieces of clothing that will be appropriated by the future Cat. Sam wears a turtleneck sweater (vertically striped as opposed to the Cat's horizontal stripes), while the raccoons will have their colorful striped scarves appropriated by the future feline.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Envelope Art Contest

The Edward Gorey House is hosting its annual Envelope Art Contest. The contest is open to all ages and is free to participate in - just decorate an envelope in your best Edward Gorey Halloween style and mail it to the House before October 24th. For an entry form, go HERE.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Auction News

On Thursday September 29th, Swann Auction Galleries offered four lots of original artwork by Edward Gorey in their Illustration Art Sale. All the artwork by Mr. Gorey in this sale related to a 1980 stage production of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. The unconventional Gorey material included the delicate drop curtain design (see above), a fantastical Cemetary where obelisks are topped with skulls, a costume design, and a lot that included six pen & ink set piece designs.

Edward Gorey was quoted on several occasions as having an interest in designing theater sets for productions that one might not associate with his particular style. While the Cemetery and costume sketch are instantly familiar to fans of Mr. Gorey's work, the set pieces have a formal architectural look that rarely betrays their author. The drop curtain design is a shining example of Mr. Gorey's deft line work. Because of the highly specific look of this piece, it is probable that the decorative motif for this piece was based on an existing architectural fragment.

All the pieces from this unusual archive were displayed at The Edward Gorey House Museum from 2008 - 2010.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gorey Exhibition

Elegant Enigmas, the major exhibition of work by Edward Gorey, is currently pirouetting from one museum to another in Japan. During its overseas excursion, there are still places to see exhibitions of Mr. Gorey's works.

The Cranbrook Art Museum has just opened Unsettled, The Work of Edward Gorey which will remain on display through March 12, 2017. The Museum is part of The Cranbrook Academy of Art, a graduate level arts institution, and is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

An anonymous alumnus of the institution has recently donated their Edward Gorey collection to the museum, and this is the core of this exhibition. The museum's website announcement about the exhibition can be found HERE, and an article about the show can be found HERE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

National Post Card Week

National Post Card Week began in 1984 with the idea that the International Federation of Postcard Dealers and different clubs would create and send cards to celebrate the postcard and promote postcard collecting as a hobby.

This wonderful image of a man and his dog caught in a whirlwind of swirling postcards is the first of 13 cards created by Edward Gorey to promote the event. The Gotham Book Mart mounted an annual exhibition of antique and unique post cards in their gallery. I am slowly adding to my collection of these announcement cards.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Publishers Weekly Cover

Edward Gorey created covers for many periodicals over the course of his long career, including this wonderful 1975 image for the May 19th issue of Publishers Weekly. The issue celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), and includes an article about their annual convention.

Since Edward Gorey created his artwork at the size it was to be published, magazine cover illustrations represent some of his largest works.  These works are also usually done in full color, which adds to their appeal when framed. Many times the covers will include hand lettering, but often the title of the publication must be dropped in because the font and placement are part of the publications trademark. In this image, a beautiful painted blue sky occupies the top quarter of the image. On the original artwork, the lack of type above the people simplifies the images and gives the work an open, airy feel.

This whimsical cover acknowledges the passion of authors, especially when pitching their unique stories to book publishers. Each character holds their beloved, if slightly eccentric volume aloft for consideration by the ABA Angel (or bat as the case may be) who hovers above, taking notes. Mr. Gorey even makes fun of his own self published works with the barefoot, bearded man in the center offering his diaries in a "limited edition of 11 copies with an original color shapshot pasted into each one".

The original artwork for this cover is currently available from Bromer Booksellers, Here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Tale of Genji

In multiple interviews, Edward Gorey was asked about his taste in reading material and his literary inspirations. One of the novels that he consistently singled out as a favorite is The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. While working at Anchor Doubleday, Mr. Gorey was responsible for the cover typography on this title (the copy shown above is not in my personal collection).

Largely regarded as the first "modern" novel, this work of Japanese literature was written in the early years of the 11th century and is attributed to a lady of the imperial court. Genji has a large cast of characters and a story that includes a number families and spans many years.

Genji, has been translated multiple times, and this is no small undertaking. With over four hundred individual characters, the task of translation becomes daunting when one realizes that none of the characters in the original manuscript are given proper names. Due to court etiquette, all characters are referred to only by their titles or functions, and multiple characters have overlapping titles and functions! Add this to the fact that many of the original Japanese words have multiple meanings which are open to interpretation, and a translator has their work cut out for them.

This is the kind of ambiguity that Edward Gorey reveled in and was inspired by. Mr. Gorey had multiple copies of The Tale of Genji in his personal library. These copies, along with the more than 21,000 books in his home at the time of his death, are in the permanent special collections of San Diego University. The university has been cataloging all the books and information about the collection can be found HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Playboy Magazine

The running joke about Playboy Magazine, the ubiquitous men's magazine founded in 1953, is that one purchased a copy to read the articles. While other distractions were included in every issue, Playboy actually featured the prominent writers, thinkers, and artists of the day. Playboy was also known as a place to see the kind of cartoonists not featured in the Sunday papers.

Like many other illustrators of his day, Edward Gorey had a long association with Playboy.  The December 1963 issue features an illustration by Mr. Gorey for A Corking Evening by Lawrence Durrell. This black and white illustration illuminates the joys and perils of too much Christmas cheer. A color illustration for Ukridge Starts A Bank Account by P.G. Woodhouse appeared in the July 1967 issue. Mr. Gorey's final contribution to the publication appears to have been in the November 1988 issue.

Most of Mr. Gorey's illustrations for Playboy were done in color. A surprising number of original pieces of artwork from Playboy have come on the market over the years. Of the ten contributions I know of, five have been sold through dealers or at auction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Brooklyn Railroad

Published in the July 1962 issue of Friends Magazine, this drawing by Edward Gorey illustrates the article, On Brooklyn Streets And Subway Tracks, It's A Fine Place To Run A Railroad. This is one of my personal favorite pieces of original Gorey artwork in my collection.

This beautifully rendered image shows a train slowly passing through a neighborhood on a summer day. The children are playing with their animal companions on the steps of a walk-up and all are transfixed by the passing train. This is obviously the event of the day; even the large black dog is all attention, while the scrappy striped cat atop the fence is leaning to peer at the train. I find it interesting that the drawing has a warm, nostalgic feel even though the neighborhood it is passing through appears to be in disrepair and the copious amounts of smoke belching from the train would make it a most unwelcome visitor.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Bathers

A lovely frolic at the lakeside, Summer Joy is the fifth print from a series of ten created by Edward Gorey in the early 1990's for the Signals Catalog. This image was available as a framed print in a hand signed edition of 850 prints or a numbered edition of 1750 prints.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


During the summer cycling season, watch out for Daffodil.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Happy Independence Day Weekend from Figbash!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Glen Emil Presentation for the Library of Congress

A recorded webcast presentation by Glen Emil at the Library of Congress from February 2016 is now available on line. In the forty minute presentation, Mr. Emil discusses aspects of Edward Gorey's career as well as the collection of material he donated to the LOC in 2014. To listen to the webcast, go HERE.

Mr. Emil's collection was also visited earlier this month for a private viewing organized by ComicsDC. Photographs from the visit are presented on their blog HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dracula In Depth

Little Shop of Horrors, The Journal of Classic British Horror Films devotes issue #36 entirely to the 1979 movie Dracula. The road to the movie begins with a Nantucket revival of the 1924 play in a high school auditorium, a production that would transfer to Broadway and make a star out of Frank Langella in the title role. The Tony Award winning revival also made a star of illustrator Edward Gorey, who designed the sets and costumes, and opened the way for his involvement in Mystery! for PBS. Even though the magazine's focus is the film, this is the most in-depth and complete recounting of how the play was conceived, produced, and produced that has been recorded.

Featuring 100 pages of in-depth, fully illustrated articles and interviews, the magazine tracks the progress from a cocktail party where, "An old drunk stumbled up to me and said, 'I hear you're going to do Dracula. You should get Edward Gorey to design it.'" (John Wulp interview), through the ultimate premier of the British-made film with its star from the Broadway production. As can be expected, there are many plot twists and turns before the stage productions or movie come to fruition.

A must for any fan of the movie or the Gorey-designed play, this magazine can be obtained from Little Shop of Horrors

Wednesday, June 1, 2016



An early tennis themed image by Edward Gorey.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Vincent Price

Happy 105th birthday to the late, great Vincent Price.  Mr. Price was born on May 27, 1911.  Here is one of the many introductions he performed for the PBS Mystery! series in the 1980's. The clip includes the Edward Gorey titles and Mr. Price seated in "Gorey Manor".

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Proust Questionnaire

Answering lists of questions to illuminate one's ambitions was a popular pastime in the 19th Century. The Proust Questionnaire is a list of questions that is meant to divulge aspects of the subjects personality.  As a teen, French writer Marcel Proust wrote out answers to an English questionnaire in 1890. His written answers were discovered in the 1920's, and the renamed Proust Questionnaire has continued to amuse and instruct ever since. The list of questions have been whittled down and adjusted for use by several television talk show hosts including James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio.

Edward Gorey was asked to take the questionnaire for Vanity Fair Magazine, and his answers were printed in the October 1997 issue. Mr. Gorey's answers are typically enigmatic.

Several examples:

What is your current state of mind?  Changeable.
Which living person do you most despise?  Where to begin...
What is your most marked characteristic? Dither.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Reviews Are In

There are several reviews for the Off Off Broadway production of GOREY (The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey). A kind friend from New York sent me a program, which has the feel of a lovely Gorey keepsake.

Front Row Center Review:

Offline On Line Review:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gorey Goes East

Edward Gorey had a deep affection for Asian culture and references to Japan and the Orient are often found in his books. For the first time, a major exhibition of his work is touring Japan with stops in three cities. Elegant Enigmas, the seminal traveling exhibition of Mr. Gorey's original art from the archives is being exhibited this year in three cities - Itami City Museum of Art (April 2 - May 15), Fukushima Prefectoral Museum of Art (July 16 - Aug 28, and finally Shimonoseki City Art Museum (Sept 8 - Oct 23). The traveling exhibition is being supplemented by first edition books from the collection of Toshinobu Hamanaka.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Wormwood Review

The Wormwood Review was a literary magazine published from Fall 1959 through April 1999. According to The Wormwood Review: A Brief History ( ), the magazine was originally published in Mt. Hope, Connecticut, later moving to California.  The first issue was printed by three friends who used an antique letterpress located in a drafty barn on Wormwood hill. The motor of the press was not operational, consequently the press was operated manually, requiring a good deal of physical effort and precise timing. To brace themselves for the task, copious amounts of gin were consumed with the result that the type was crooked in many copies. The experience proved to be one that the publishers were not interested in repeating and subsequent issues were professionally printed.

Edward Gorey's one contribution to the Wormwood Review appears in Issue 84 (Volume 21, No.4), page 101, 700 copies, published in 1981. Mr. Gorey appears to have culled from one of his files of unused artwork, choosing an image from the early 1950's. The "Earbrass" style figure is identified at one Professor Q.E. Stramash, and obscure literary critic of appropriate eccentricity for a small literary publication. My favorite part of the illustration is the multiple pairs of eyeglasses scattered about Prof. Stramash's person.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Article on the 2016 EGH show

Here is a nice article on about the 2016 Edward Gorey House show:   Photo of the exhibition is by David Colantuono.