“The Life & Art of Charles M. Schulz" at the Figge Art Museum -- through September 3.

Through Sunday, September 3

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

Possibly the most famed and beloved artist in the history of comic strips will be celebrated at the Figge Art Museum through September 3 when the Davenport venue houses The Life & Art of Charles M. Schulz, a touring salute to the talent who brightened the world for 50 years with the comedic, and sometimes melancholic, adventures of Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Snoopy, and the rest of the lovable Peanuts gang.

Charles Monroe Schulz (1922-2000) is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists in history, and cited by many cartoonists as a major influence, including Jim Davis, Murray Ball, Matt Groening, Dav Pilkey, and Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. "Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip," stated Watterson, "so even now it's hard to see it with fresh eyes. The clean, minimalist drawings, the sarcastic humor, the unflinching emotional honesty, the inner thoughts of a household pet, the serious treatment of children, the wild fantasies, the merchandising on an enormous scale ... . In countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow."

At its height, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries, in 21 languages. Over nearly 50 years, Schulz drew 17,897 published Peanuts strips, which, along with their accompanying merchandise and product endorsements, produced revenues of more than $1 billion per year, with Schulz earning an estimated $30 million to $40 million annually. During the strip's run, Schulz took only one vacation: a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday, with reruns of the strip running during his vacation -- the only time that occurred during Schulz's life.

The first collection of Peanuts strips was published in July of 1952, and with his beloved figures that included Linus, Sally, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Pig Pen, and the yellow bird Woodstock, Schulz explored the emotional territory of friendship, disappointment, faith, and tolerance. He was an artist and a storyteller who transformed images of everyday life into art that captured the humor, vulnerability, and dignity of the human spirit. Schulz once proclaimed, “It seems beyond the comprehension of people that someone can be born to draw comic strips, but I think I was.”

Curated by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, the touring exhibit The Life & Art of Charles M. Schulz explores the cartoonist's personal history and his role as the inspiration and artistic talent behind Peanuts and its unique cast of characters. The exhibition follows Schulz from his Minnesota roots to his life in California and tracks the development of the characters that make up the unique world of Peanuts. Fifty-two original Peanuts comic strips, sketches, photographs, and elements of Schulz’s studio illuminate the story behind the popular and influential cartoon strip, while a range of ephemera including books, memorabilia, and toys will also be on display.

“Schulz’s remarkable ability to connect with his audience every single day for 50 years and stay relevant is a testament to his extraordinary talent,” said Figge Executive Director and CEO Michelle Hargrave. "From Snoopy, to Lucy, to Charlie Brown, the humorous anecdotes and lessons of Peanuts are timeless. The nostalgic experience this exhibition creates will resonate with visitors of all ages.”

The Life & Art of Charles M. Schulz will be on display through September 3, with regular museum hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays (10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Museum admission is $4-10, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting FiggeArtMuseum.org.

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