An exhibition of original children’s book illustrations is on view at the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery in Sun Yat-sen Hall from now through March 3rd. The main gallery features notes, sketches and books of eight contemporary illustrators. This show is curated by Daniel Da Silva of the Fine Arts Department.
An ancillary exhibition draws from the St. John’s University Libraries’ collections and was curated by librarian/archivist Dr. Blythe Roveland-Brenton with the assistance of graduate assistants and interns, Gaetano Bello, Audrey Belanger, Joseph DeLorenzo, and Megan Margino. The exhibition includes a selection of illustrated books from the Children’s Historical Collection of the Special Collections Department. They range in date from 1807-1923. A facsimile of the first picture book intended for children, John Amos Camenius’ Orbis Pictus (originally published in 1658) is also on exhibit. The early texts, with their black and white woodcuts and engravings, exemplify the stern tenor of many children’s books before the mid-nineteenth century. By the later 19th century, attitudes toward children changed as did printing technology. Beautiful and colorful books illustrated by talented artists became abundant.
Also on view as part of the libraries’ exhibition, is a sample of Caldecott Medal winners from each decade. Since 1938, the American Library Association has honored artists of the most distinguished American picture books with this award. It is named for the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott. One of his books is part of the exhibition in the gallery. The Caldecott winners on display are from the Libraries’ Youth Collection, housed on the fourth floor of St. Augustine Hall.