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The Bruce Museum is pleased to announce an exhibition of children’s book illustrations from the archives of artist, illustrator, and author James Stevenson (American, 1929-2017). Fun / No Fun: Children’s Book Art by James Stevenson will be on view to the public beginning Sunday, December 13, 2020, through Sunday, April 18, 2021 (temporarily closed until further notice). Adults know Stevenson as the witty and prolific New Yorker cartoonist—there was hardly a magazine issue in five decades that did not include a Stevenson gag. Kids know him as the author and illustrator of hundreds of children’s books that induce fits of giggles with silliness voiced with a simple honesty. Deftly drawn with an assured line and colored with soft watercolor washes, Stevenson’s whimsical sketches evoke a sense of memory and nostalgia. While this exhibition spotlights the books he both wrote and illustrated, Stevenson often collaborated with admired children’s book authors such as Judy Blume, Helen Griffith, Jack Prelutsky, and Dr. Seuss. He not only authored the award-winning storybooks, but also wrote Young Adult novels and poetry. Fun / No Fun will explore the seasonal delights to which kids of all ages can relate—building a snowman in winter, tormenting your friends with springtime skunk cabbage, summer camp camaraderie, and leaping into an autumn leaf pile. Throughout the holiday season, Fun / No Fun will bring together generations of Stevenson art lovers—the readers and the read-to—who will be fascinated by the dexterity of his hand, sensitivity of his execution, and marvelous sense of humor. Curators Kathleen Holko and Kathy Reichenbach are especially proud to shine a light on a local art icon. Showcased will be original illustrations from a multitude of beloved books authored by Stevenson, who populated his tomes with a cast of characters in settings that he conjured precisely to suit the story. Visitors will recognize their favorite Stevenson characters, from the anthropomorphic denizens of Mud Flat, to the mustachioed Grandpa and his little brother Wainey; from goodhearted witch Emma and her nemeses Lavinia and Dolores, to the perennially grouchy Mr. Worst, and many more. These lively, colored sketches will be shown alongside the softly nostalgic watercolors he employed in his series of autobiographical books, such as Fun / No Fun (1994), from which this exhibition borrows its title.
1 Museum Dr.
The Bruce Museum is a regionally based, world-class institution highlighting art, science and natural history in more than a dozen changing exhibitions annually. The permanent galleries feature the natural sciences that encompass regional to global perspectives.
The museum was originally built as a private home in 1853. Robert Moffat Bruce (1822-1909), a wealthy textile merchant and member of the New York Cotton Exchange, bought the house and property in 1858 and deeded them to the Town on Greenwich in 1908.