"WITH VERY OLD—VERY GOOD NUTCRACKING AFFECTION!": SENDAK’S NUTCRACKER, INSCRIBED BY HIM TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING OF THE NUTCRACKER
(SENDAK, Maurice) HOFFMAN, E.T.A. The Nutcracker. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New York: Crown, (1984). Quarto, original blue cloth, pictorial endpapers, original dust jacket. $2800.
First trade edition, presentation copy, of this delightful blend of Hoffman’s Christmas tale and Sendak’s magical color illustrations, inscribed to Sendak's close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth, with very old—very good nutcracking affection! Maurice Sendak Oct. '84," with an original drawing of the Nutcracker saying, "Happy Christmas!"
This beautiful book preserves the compelling vision of Hoffman's classic Christmas tale (written in 1816) that acclaimed illustrator Sendak created as sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1983. With ten double-page full color illustrations and numerous other color illustrations after watercolors by Sendak. Preceded by a signed limited edition of 250 copies in the same year. Hanrahan A119. The former owner of this inscribed book was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Sendak bought a home and studio in Ridgefield in 1972 with his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, and lived there until his death. Andrew first encountered Sendak in 1975 during one of his daily dog walks. (Sendak owned many dogs throughout his life, and they often starred in his books.) Andrew was immediately taken with Sendak, who reminded him of his recently deceased father. One day, Andrew called Sendak at home and asked if he could join him on his walks. Andrew and Sendak thus embarked on a 37-year friendship that also included the Andrew's mother, Betty, as well as Andrew's brother. Sendak went on long walks and hikes with Andrew and his family regularly, discussing general life events, opera, and books. He also invited them into his studio to show off works in progress. Andrew's mother, Betty, was an avid reader and collector and she and Sendak would talk late into the night about books. Sendak offered Betty advice about how to find and authenticate rare children's books, which she used to build her collection. Additionally, he frequently bartered for autographs (i.e. a cake for an inscribed drawing). In inscriptions, Betty is often referred to as "Elizabeth"; Sendak felt that her name was "common" and didn't suit her. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, limited edition books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Book fine, dust jacket with a couple small spots of faint soiling and only slightest rubbing to extremities. A handsome inscribed copy with original drawing.