New traveling exhibition explores the influence of Jewish culture and history in the work of renowned illustrator Maurice Sendak. Print
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Jennifer Christiansen   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 13:42
Moline, Illinois – “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak,” a traveling exhibition opening at the Moline Public Library on Wednesday, December 28th, reveals the push and pull of New and Old Worlds in Sendak’s work and shows how Sendak’s artistic journey has led him deeper into his own family’s history and his Jewish identity.

Maurice Sendak is best known as the illustrator of more than 100 picture books, including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. He was born to Polish immigrants in Brooklyn in 1928, and his childhood was typically American in a number of ways. At the same time, he became fascinated as a child with the worn black-and-white photographs of his European relatives, and the influence of both of these worlds – the threads of Jewish family, geography, and culture – can be seen in his imaginative works.

The exhibit is an exploration of Sendak’s illustrations and picture books, revealing connections between these iconic works and Sendak’s childhood, family, and the popular culture of the time. The colorful exhibit panels feature illustrations of ferocious creatures, curious children and vibrant neighborhoods, alongside thematic explorations of the Jewish culture and history – and Sendak’s own family experience – that influenced Sendak’s work.

“In a Nutshell” was organized by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, and developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life. The exhibit was curated by Patrick Rodgers of the Rosenbach Museum & Library.

The Moline Public Library is sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition. Contact 309-524-2470 or visit for more information. “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak” will be on display at the Moline Public Library until February 24th, 2012.


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