Arts

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum celebrates book artists this summer

Because we all know what a great book does for the beach season.

Maurice Sendak's "March curtain." © Maurice Sendak Foundation, The Morgan Library & Museum, Bequest of Maurice Sendak, 2013. Photography by Janny Chiu

Going on the hunt for a good book is a sign of the summer season. Vacations, beaches, road trips — they all crave page-turners to keep us company as we relax. Through September, book-and art-lovers alike come together at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to view rarely-seen works by renowned, yet very different, book artists.

The museum pays homage to a range of book illustrators through a summer-long set of exhibitions. The major viewing is the whimsical set designs of acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator (of “Where The Wild Things Arefame) Maurice Sendak, complete with a reading nook and play stage. “Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet” explores another side of Sendak, who had a second career as a set and costume designer for opera and ballet. Other exhibits throughout the museum include the gleaming pages of a 500-year-old prayer book (the crown jewel of Isabella’s manuscript collection) by Jean Bourdichon, painter to French kings, displayed in its entirety for the first time. There will also be a new commission, “Universes,” by picture book artist Oliver Jeffers. 

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To expand the family experience, the museum’s popular Open Studios art making has been expanded to take place every Saturday and Sunday over the summer.

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