Edward Gorey is well known for over 100 written and illustrated works (though not all titles are books) including The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Doubtful Guest. The author-artist’s set and costume designs for his award-winning Broadway Dracula, and his animated sequences to PBS Mystery! boosted his creative achievements.
However, this output overshadows his achievements as a much-in-demand illustrator for other authors. While Gorey was busy creating his world of stiff Victorians, sinister Edwardians, doomed infants, strange creatures, stifling interiors and mysterious landscapes, he was also busy creating a significant body of commercial book design for a variety of authors and publishers. Our 2015 exhibit, From Aesop to Updike: Edward Gorey’s Book Cover Art & Design, is a varied sampling of almost five decades of commercial work–an integral component (and not just an intriguing sideline) of Edward Gorey’s artistry.
Additional Material about the Exhibit: Early Gorey Covers
“I hate (Henry James) more than anybody else in the world except for Picasso.” – Edward Gorey
From Doubleday Anchor, Gorey moved to Looking Glass Library, an imprint focused on children’s and young adult titles. Despite the frequent woes that befell children in his own books, Gorey had become increasingly in demand as a children’s book illustrator, permitting him to become a freelance artist as well as an author, an occupation he successfully pursued for the rest of his life.
Becoming Edward Gorey
As with any commercial illustrator, with gradually increasing demands for his unique “touch,” Gorey soon began to be burdened with freelance contract deadlines, and all the while his ever-present muse urged him to create. When asked by Vanity Fair in their Proust Questionnaire, If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? he replied “To be able to say no.” His work ethic, which was renowned, prevailed. He began to balance his freelance work with his own creative projects. He organized and worked longer hours. Somehow Gorey managed both his commercial working world and his creative endeavors, leaving a body of work that remains delightful, diverse and enduring.
From Aesop to Updike: Edward Gorey’s Book Cover Art
This exhibit runs from April 16th to December 27th, 2015.
For their assistance in this exhibit, special thanks go to Andreas Brown of the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, Steven Heller, Sam Speigel, Pomegranate Press, San Diego State University, John Carollo and Dr. Joseph Stanton at the University of Hawaii.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $2 for children 6 to 12. Children under 6 free.
Memberships and donations
Thank you for your continued support of the Edward Gorey House!