Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Graham Gallery Artwork

In my quest to see and present as many images as possible from Edward Gorey's two Graham Gallery Exhibitions, two more pieces surfaced during the past year. One image is from the 1974 show, while the second was shown at the gallery in 1975 as part of a group exhibition. I am continually impressed by every piece created for these exhibitions, and must admit to getting weak at the knees when I have the good fortune to view them in person.

The 1974 exhibition had 46 pieces of original artwork created by Mr. Gorey specifically for the show (see my posting from June 30, 2009 for the complete list). So far, I have now seen ten of the pieces in person or in print. After a Staffordshire sugarbowl was #14 on the list and is drawn in what appears to be dried blood, but is really just deep red ink. This masterful genre drawing presents a delightful scene with an abundance of birds and animals.

Les Roses bleuatres l'oubliette dans la cuisine was included in the 1975 Graham Gallery show. I have yet to find a checklist of the pieces that were displayed. This stunning piece is reproduced in Looking for Edward Gorey (see my post from December 20, 2011), but was not on display in the exhibition at the University of Hawaii. The cutaway scene includes just about everything anyone could ever hope to see in a piece by Edward Gorey.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Goreyana!

Pepper has asked Santa to bring more Gorey Kitty Dolls for her to play with!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking for Edward Gorey

Looking for Edward Gorey, published by the University of Hawaii Art Gallery, 2011, is a companion volume to the September 26 - December 10 exhibition at the gallery. This privately printed book is only available from the University, so to obtain a copy you must contact the gallery, then send off your payment (credit cards are not accepted). This will no doubt become one of the rarer volumes dedicated to Mr. Gorey as time goes by.

The University of Hawaii is the repository of one of the larger collections of Edward Gorey material. The items were donated to the university by John A. Carollo, who continues to enrich his namesake collection. The 2010 exhibition was the second showing of this stellar grouping, and this exhibition was augmented with many items from the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust. The resulting exhibition had a depth of material rarely seen on display.

Looking for Edward Gorey is profusely illustrated with photographs from the exhibition. There are many images showing the gallery installation as well as highlights from the show. At 163 pages, this over sized paperback book consists of an essay about Mr. Gorey and his works by Dr. Joseph Stanton. General topics, major themes and individual books are discussed at length. My main disappointment with the volume is that there is no checklist of the items displayed in the show or in the collection of the University. To better appreciate which items were on display, one must minutely examine the installation photographs and try to make out the displays.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuning Fork Auction

The suite of original artwork for the The Tuning Fork by Edward Gorey was withdrawn from the December 13th auction at Sotheby's.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Tuning Fork

The plot, or soup, thickens around Edward Gorey's original artwork for The Tuning Fork, which is being offered at Sotheby's Auction House next week.

According to Edward Bradford, the official Edward Gorey bibliographer and author of F is for Fantods; Edward Gorey's Fantod Press: A Bibliographical Checklist, the art being offered was most likely the version of The Tuning Fork published in Status Magazine in November 1968 (two other complete books by Edward Gorey also appeared in the magazine in March 1969 & July 1969) under the title - Theoda; A Gothic Tale of the Generation Gap, Alienation and Despair Driving Parents and Children into Monstrous Behavior which Solves Nothing. This is, quite possibly, the most convoluted title to any tale penned by Mr. Gorey.

So the question remains - Why redraw the book? The most reasonable explanation offered by Mr. Bradford is that the original artwork simply was not returned to Mr. Gorey by the magazine, and when EG thought of including this story in Amphigorey Also, the art could not be found. The only option would be to redraw the entire book. This also explains why there were no changes to the story and the illustrations match the originals so well - Mr. Gorey had no choice but to copy his own work from the printed magazine pictures.

It is not as unusual as it sounds for an artist not to get art back from a publisher, especially in the 1960's. It usually fell to the artist or their agent to keep track of such things, and if a significant amount of time had elapsed before anyone thought to get the work back, it could easily be lost.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Tuning Fork at Auction

On December 13, Sotheby's will be auctioning a suite of original pen and ink drawings by Edward Gorey from The Tuning Fork. Curiously, this suite of drawings is not the final published artwork that appears in Amphigorey Also (published in 1983), or in the first edition of this title (published by the Fantod Press in 1990). The drawings being auctioned are not sketches, but rather are completely finished drawings. After checking with Sotheby's, it was confirmed that this suite of 14 drawings plus title page and page of lettering is unpublished. The photo below was provided by Sotheby's Auction House, New York.
The illustrations being auctioned are dated on the reverse, and were made between 10 August 1966 and 19 October 1966, long before the first publication of this work in 1983. On his "A" collection books, Mr. Gorey always dated each individual drawing on the reverse when he started and completed them. He must have intended this to be a final set of artwork, but changed his mind. It would be interesting to know what the dates on the reverse of the final artwork in the Gorey archives are.
Obviously, Mr. Gorey redrew the entire book before publication. It is interesting to compare the earlier drawings with the later illustrations. The composition of the art has not changed at all, but the detailing of the published art is more refined. In the photos above and below, the Sotheby's art is on the left and the published art is on the right. The differences, while clear when viewed side by side, are subtle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

from Goreyana

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Black Doll

The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust has come out with a new Edward Gorey stuffed toy - The Black Doll. These wonderful felt dolls come in a fully illustrated box and are limited to 2000 pieces. Dolls can be acquired through the Edward Gorey House online store (

The dolls (and box) are quite a bit larger than I expected them to be - each doll is a full 14" in length. Created in black felt and stuffed with a plush fiberfill, they can be bent to sit on a book shelf or amongst a collection of other Gorey dolls. I am showing the doll next to a first edition copy of The Black Doll to give a sense of scale.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Auction News

On Tuesday, November 10, 2011, Swann Galleries in New York City held an auction of Literature: Art, Press & Illustrated Books that included a nice selection of works by Edward Gorey. While this auction did not create the buzz of Swann's 2010 auction (see my posting from October 17, 2010), the 14 lots of Gorey books included limited edition titles as well as signed first trade editions and ephemera. Bidding was strong for each item offered, and no lot remained unsold.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Graham Gallery Art

In 1974, Edward Gorey had the first of two gallery exhibitions at the Graham Gallery in New York City (see my postings from June 30, July 3 & 6, 2009, and March 9, 2010). A recent catalog from Bromer Booksellers features another piece of art from this exhibition.
Listed in the 1974 exhibition catalog as item #3, Cell, this wonderful image shows a two part tableau with a child being (presumably) carried away by a flying creature. I have had the pleasure of viewing this piece in person, and the detailing and colors are quite remarkable.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween
ƒrom Goreyana!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Florence Parry Heide

Florence Parry Heide, author of the Treehorn Trilogy, passed away on October 23, 2011, at age 92. Edward Gorey illustrated the Treehorn books. She died in her sleep at her Kenosha, Wisconsin home. Here is her obituary in the New York Times.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Headless Bust

The Headless Bust, a Melancholy Meditation on the False Millennium by Edward Gorey was published in 1999 by Hardcourt Brace, New York. This title was published as a hardcover with illustrated boards and a matching dust wrapper. The Headless Bust was Mr. Gorey's final "A" collection book published during his lifetime.

The Headless Bust is a sequel to Mr. Gorey's 1997 publication, The Haunted Tea Cozy. The main characters once again are the Bahhumbug and Edmund Gravel. In this outing, the Whatsit - a flying bug-like creature - takes them on journeys near and far to witness "shame and disgrace".

In addition to the standard printing, The Headless Bust was published as a slipcased, limited edition volume with 750 numbered and 26 lettered (A to Z) copies. Each of the limited edition books is hand signed by Edward Gorey. I am showing copies #95/750 and #M/26. I also have an Uncorrected Proof of this title, which was issued by Hardcourt in grey wrappers (see photo at the top of the post). The printing quality on the proof is significantly less well executed than in the final books.

Each limited edition copy of The Headless Bust was issued with a custom made beanbag Bahhumbug doll. These delightful dolls are stuffed with poly beads (no worries about bugs or critters eating a rice filling), have six arms/legs, are printed front and back, and can be posed in many positions. The photo to the left shows one of my dolls sitting on a high book shelf.

While each of the 776 limited edition books was issued with a doll, there was a small number of extras created - I believe there were about 25 or so single dolls produced, which would make sense if the total order for dolls was 800. The extra dolls were sold individually by Gotham Book Mart. It is also interesting to note that some Bahhumbug dolls were printed looking right, while others were reversed and look to the left. Whether this was intentional, or a mistake on the part of the manufacturer, I do not know.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fine Art Prints, Part 11

With this posting, we complete the 2002 Gotham Book Mart list of prints created by Edward Gorey. The list ended at #117, plus one extra unnumbered print listed. We still have a number of etchings to cover in a future post, but they were printed after Mr. Gorey's death and are not on this list. Many of the prints shown on this post are available for purchase from The Edward Gorey House - - although some editions may be sold out. As with Edward Gorey's other prints, the editions completed after his death are available hand numbered with a facsimile signatures. #106 Figbash Takes A Bow - 40/50 prints were hand signed. #107 Figbash On Pointe to Right - 40/50 prints were hand signed. #108 Figbash On Pointe Hands Up - 40/50 prints were hand signed. #109 Figbash Jump with Hands Up - 50/50 prints were hand signed. #110 Figbash Pointing Right - 36/50 prints were hand signed. #111 Figbash Two Hands Right - 35/50 prints were hand signed. #112 Figbash Leaping, Two Hands Right - 30/50 prints were hand signed. #113 Figbash Leaping, Two Hands Back- 40/50 prints were hand signed. #114 Winged Figbash on "Etc." - 40/50 prints were hand signed. I have print #10/50. This is the only instance I know of where Figbash is shown with wings. #115 Night Creature Carrying Baby Aloft - 50/50 prints were hand signed. I am showing print #40/50. Along with print #41 Au Secours, this is one of Edward Gorey's most successful prints. In both prints, Mr. Gorey embraced the medium of printmaking and created striking images which could only be created through the printmaking process. With his use of shadow and light, Mr. Gorey conveys darkness and despair in Night Creature more convincingly than he could have in his standard cross hatched drawing style. In person, this print has a beautiful, almost three dimensional inky black surface. This image has been used as the cover for a vampire story compilation book. #116 Sleeping Cat Turned Left - 50/50 prints were hand signed. #117 Sleeping Cat Turned Right - 50/50 prints were hand signed.

Figbash English Soup - 300/300 prints were hand signed. This print was primarily available through Storyopolis in California, although Gotham had a few available. The Gotham list also said there were 23 Artist's Proof prints available.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Floating Worlds

"Dear Peter,
I've spent most of the day drawing sordidly conceived and erratically hung wallpaper..."
-Edward Gorey

Floating Worlds, The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer by Peter F. Neumeyer gives us an inside glimpse into the mind of Edward Gorey, in time capsule form. Published in September 2011 by Pomegranate Books, San Francisco, the book consists of letters between Mr. Neumeyer and Mr. Gorey between September 15, 1968 and October 28, 1969.

Peter F. Neumeyer is the author of (among many other publications) the three Edward Gorey-illustrated Donald books. The letters ostensibly concern themselves with the publication of the Donald books (as well as other unfinished/unpublished collaborations between the two), but this is just a springboard for numerous subjects from both writers. In one of the earliest letters, Mr. Gorey states that he usually does not collaborate at all with authors - he usually just does the art and moves on to the next project. This is not the case with author Neumeyer.

In the process of collaboration, the work and social habits of Mr. Gorey are illuminated far better than have ever been shown before. Mr. Gorey's letters are often written over days (with time and/or date notations), typed on a manual typewriter with hand notations. This was an incredibly busy time for Mr. Gorey who was working on multiple projects of his own and also illustrating books for several authors.

Floating Worlds is profusely illustrated with examples of the hand decorated envelopes and post cards sent to Mr. Neumeyer, which would be reason enough to make this a "must have" book, as would the introduction by Mr. Neumeyer. These are merely window dressing, however, to the main event - the correspondence between the two men.

In today's world of instant communication, it is hard to imagine the anticipation of waiting for a response to something you sent weeks (or more) previously. The only way to recreate this would be to read the letters as dated, but who can wait?!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fine Art Prints, Part 10

We continue with Gotham Book Mart's 2002 list of prints created by Edward Gorey - and yes, we are getting close to the end of the list! Most of the prints shown on this post are available for purchase from The Edward Gorey House - - although some editions may be sold out. As with Edward Gorey's other prints, the editions were completed after his death and are available hand numbered with a facsimile signatures.

This grouping of prints are the "Thumb" series. I do not have any of these prints in my collection - I will admit that I find these images rather creepy. My favorites from the group is Thumbhenge and Three Thumbs Exercise.

#97 Thumb: Left Turn - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#98 Thumb: On the Right - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#99 All Thumbs (four) - 30/50 prints were hand signed.
#100 Thumbhenge - 30/50 prints were hand signed.
#101 Two Thumbs: Up & Left - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#102 Three Thumbs Exercise - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#103 Two Thumbs Aloft - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#104 Two Thumbs (Sistine Chapel) - 20/50 prints were hand signed.
#105 Three Thumbs Up - 20/50 prints were hand signed.

Monday, September 12, 2011


It is always fun to recognize something that influenced Edward Gorey and his works. This past week, I received a catalog from a book dealer specializing in children's literature. While perusing the offerings, I was struck by an illustration from an early American title. At a glance, it appears to be an illustration from Edward Gorey's first miniature book, The Eclectic Abecedarium. It was actually from Whittington and His Cat published by S(olomon) King, circa 1829 - 1831.

The border design and style of art are remarkably similar to Mr. Gorey's illustrations for TEA...actually, they are pretty much exactly the same. The catalog includes a second title by King, The Scripture Alphabet for Children (circa 1830's). Also included in the catalog is a copy of the Adama printing of The Eclectic Abecedarium.

Gorey was widely read and picked up influences from many different sources. It should be no surprise that some of them are recognizable!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Haunted Tea Cosy

The Haunted Tea Cosy; A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas by Edward Gorey was published in hardcover with an illustrated dust wrapper in 1997 by Harcourt Brace & Company, New York. The Haunted Tea Cosy is a parody of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, and introduces the Bahhum Bug, who will also appear in Mr. Gorey's final book. This story was commissioned by the New York Times and appeared in the New York Times Magazine on December 21, 1997. The Haunted Tea Cosy is included in Amphigorey Again.

The first edition of The Haunted Tea Cosy was available from Gotham Book Mart as a signed hardcover, and as a signed, slipcased limited edition with 500 numbered and 26 lettered (A to Z) copies. The signed colophon page is tipped into the book. I am showing copies #42/500 and G/26. The announcement card for this title appears below.

The Elegant Enigmas show included two pieces of original artwork from this book, and the art displays the simpler, bolder line quality that much of Mr. Gorey's work from this time period exhibits. It was interesting to be able to compare and contrast the art from this book to pieces created just a few years earlier.