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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. 


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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