Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

Jacksonville, Florida



Pages & Stages: The Art of E. L. Konigsburg


From hand-written and illustrated sheets of paper to complete manuscripts submitted digitally on computer disks, the world of publishing has changed dramatically with the advent of new technology. This exhibition explores the evolution of book production from past to present with children's artist E. L. Konigsburg, author of the Newbery medal-winning books From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday. Pages & Stages: The Art of E. L. Konigsburg demonstrates the changes that have occurred over the years as a book emerges from "thought in head to book in hand." Sponsored by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, this exhibition will be on display at the Cummer through January 2, 2000.

"The Cummer is delighted to present an exhibition that celebrates Elaine's literary and artistic achievements," said museum director Kahren Arbitman. "At the same time, it displays the path her illustrations take from first image to final printed form."

Pages & Stages includes more than 40 two-and-three-dimensional works of art created by E. L. Konigsburg for her books. Konigsburg, both author and artist, uses various experiences from her own childhood as well as those from her children and grandchildren's lives as sources of inspiration.

Illustrating her global appeal, Konigsburg's books have been published in numerous languages including, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. In addition, her stories have been transformed into made-for-television movies and major motion pictures. In 1968, Konigsburg won her first Newbery Medal, awarded by the American Library Association for the most distinguished contribution to children's literature. Her book, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a charming story about children who run away and spend the night in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, had captivated children and adults alike. Her first book Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth, written that same year, had already been named a Newbery Honor Book. This feat had not happened in the 77-year history of the award - and hasn't since. In 1997, Konigsburg again won the Newbery Medal for The View from Saturday, one of only five authors to have accomplished this prestigious achievement.

"When I write a book, I more or less start making a movie in my head," said Konigsburg. "Children all over the world have let me know that they like books that take them to unusual places where they meet unusual people. Readers let me know that they like books that have more to them than meets the eye."

The exhibition has been organized by The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens with the assistance of guest curators, Rina Youngner and Nadine Johnson; the staff of the Information Sciences Library, the Elizabeth Nesbitt Room at the University of Pittsburgh, and author Elaine Konigsburg.

This is the first time that an exhibition has been organized to show the role inspiration and technology play in the creation of a book. Included in the exhibition are pieces from Konigsburg's beloved children's books: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth; Samuel Todd's Book of Great Colors; Samuel Todd's Book of Great Inventions, and others.

Text and image courtesy of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

Read more about the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Resource Library Magazine.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/22/10

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2010 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.