LOVELY SENDAK-ILLUSTRATED POSTER FROM THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET'S WORLD PREMIERE OF THE NUTCRACKER, 1983, INSCRIBED BY SENDAK FOR PRESENTATION TO A CLOSE FRIEND
SENDAK, Maurice. Poster inscribed ["Nutcracker"]. Seattle: No publisher, 1983. Color poster, measuring 18 by 26 inches; handsomely framed, entire piece measures 27 by 19 inches. $2700.
Beautiful poster, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, advertising the Pacific Northwest Ballet's 1983 world premiere of the Nutcracker, featuring sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak, inscribed at the bottom of the image for presentation to a close friend and neighbor: "For Mike—with complete pleasure!—Maurice Sendak Jul '84."
This poster advertises world premiere of the Nutcracker, with choreography by Kent Stowell and with sets and costumes by Maurice Sendak. The ballet was performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Seattle Opera House in 1983. When approached by the artistic directors of the Pacific Northwest Ballet to help create the production, Sendak proclaimed that he was no fan of ballet and objected to the cutesy, saccharine nature of the Nutcracker story. However, Sendak was enticed by complete freedom to turn the Nutcracker into a darker, scarier story complete with cannons and a giant rat king. He also changed the third act, getting rid of the Land of the Sweets and introducing a Turkish palace to better suit his tastes. The result was yet another Sendak theatrical masterpiece. The ballet was performed every Christmas season for over three decades until it was eventually retired after Sendak's death in 2012. For the central image of the poster, Sendak depicts the Nutcracker holding a saber in one hand and a fully decorated Christmas tree in the other. The former owner of this inscribed poster was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut. The inscribee, Mike, was Andrew's brother. 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.