CHARMING PROOF OF THE WILD THINGS-THEMED INVITATION TO THE 1981 BRETANOS COSTUME GALA, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK FOR PRESENTATION
SENDAK, Maurice. Invitation proof inscribed [Brentanos Annual Costume Gala]. New York: Angelica Press, 1981. Silkscreened and letterpressed proof, measuring 13 by 14 inches; handsomely framed, entire piece measures 13 by 16 inches. $2800.
Original proof of the invitation for Bretanos 1981 Costume Gala, featuring the wild things characters, Moishe and Sipi, in full Victorian dress, inscribed at the bottom for presentation: "For Andy—affectionately!—Maurice Jan. '82."
This is the original proof—evident due to the offset silkscreened color—of the limited edition invitation (800 copies) to the 1981 Bretanos Costume Gala. Attendees were encouraged to dress "as a character from a novel you WISHED you had written" in order to compete for prizes. The four-panel invitation features an image of the wild things characters, Moishe and Sipi, dressed in full 1850s Victorian attire, possibly reflecting a wish they'd written a Dickens novel. The former owner of this proof 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 frequently bartered for autographs, as well (i.e. a cake for an inscribed drawing). The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections, compiled by various members of a single family and ultimately owned by Andrew.