San Rafael gallery that will be showing them over the holidays. In the afternoon, I went to the Contemporary Jewish Museum to see a show of works by children's book illustrator Arnold Lobel before heading to the Legion of Honor to see the Anders Zorn show.
The Lobels (Arnold and his wife Anita, also a book illustrator) lived near my family in Brooklyn when I was a child. I played with their children, Adam and Adrianne (known as Belia), from time to time in the park. My mother remembers Arnold sketching in ruled notebooks as he watched us play. A couple of these notebooks are included among the exhibits. I remember receiving an autographed copy of Anita Lobel's Sven's Bridge from the Lobels as a child. So it was with a special sense of connection that I went to see the show. That said, I really had no idea of the range of Arnold Lobel's work, nor did I understand its quality. Last time I saw any of it I was a child, and I'd never had the opportunity to see original drawings before. As an adult, I can now appreciate Lobel's importance as an illustrator.
The work on display is impressive. Most of the drawings are done in graphite, ink, and watercolor. They are masterful, showing an extraordinary confidence. Well worth a visit, if you're in the area. The Contemporary Jewish Museum is at 736 Market Street (415 655-7800, or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Lobel show runs through March 23, 2014, organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.
"There Was an Old Pig with a Pen," illustration from The Book of Pigericks (1983). Graphite, ink, and watercolor on paper. © The Estate of Arnold Lobel.