"READ BOOKS!": HANDSOME POSTER BY MAURICE SENDAK CELEBRATING THE FIRST "NEW YORK IS BOOK COUNTRY" FESTIVAL, 1979, INSCRIBED BY SENDAK FOR PRESENTATION TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR
SENDAK, Maurice. Poster inscribed ["New York Is Book Country"]. New York: Viking Penguin / Harper & Row, 1983. Color poster, measuring 19 by 24 inches; handsomely framed, entire piece measures 20 by 25 inches. $2800.
Color poster, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, advertising the first annual "New York Is Book Country" festival in 1979, featuring Moishe the Wild Thing reading Villette and eating a "big apple" against the backdrop of the Empire State Building, inscribed in the margin for presentation to a close friend and neighbor: "For Andrew Be Good! Maurice Sendak Oct:79."
Sendak, "widely considered the most important children's book artist of the 20th century… wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche" (New York Times). Sendak created this image in celebration of theannual "New York is Book Country" festival, an open-air celebration of literature with public readings, book signings, concerts, games and other festivities, all designed to support the New York City Public Library's services to children. During the fair's history, Sendak contributed four posters (this inaugural poster in 1979, the anniversary poster in 1988, as well as posters for 1998 and 2003). Hanrahan C7a. The former owner of this inscribed poster 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.