"MAURICE SENDAK ALIAS MAURICE": MAURICE SENDAK'S FANTASY SKETCHES, INSCRIBED BY HIM TO A NEIGHBOR AND CLOSE FRIEND WITH AN ORIGINAL SKETCH OF A WOMAN HOLDING AN UMBRELLA
SENDAK, Maurice. Fantasy Sketches. Philadelphia: Philip H. & A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation, 1970. Quarto, staple-bound as issued, original pictorial paper wrappers. $1650.
First edition, second printing, of this collection of fantasy drawings from the 1950s, inscribed to a neighbor and close friend: "For Elizabeth with good wishes! Maurice Sendak alias Maurice June '76," with an original sketch of a woman with an umbrella walking away from the viewer.
This collection of drawings contains numerous brief illustrative narratives, ranging in content from the sweetly innocent to the delightfully naughty. Hanrahan A74.1. The former owner of this inscribed book was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut, the brother of the inscribee, Michael. 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 many of the inscriptions, Betty is referred to as "Elizabeth," a name Sendak routinely used as he felt that "Betty" was too common. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Interior fine, only mild toning to wrappers, a few tiny spots of faint soiling. A near-fine copy.