A world of fairy tale fun for families
● By J. Chambless
Brian Pinkney, ‘What a grand entrance Cendrillon made!’ 1998, oil on scratchboard. Illustration for ‘Cendrillon, A Caribbean Cinderella’ by Robert D. San Souci.
For centuries, fairy tales have enchanted children and
adults alike. These age-old stories, endlessly told and reconfigured over time
and place, spark our imaginations, teach life lessons, and touch on dark fears
and basic truths.
Organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art, “Cinderella & Co.—Three Fairy Tales Reimagined” will explore the enduring stories of Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, presenting a wide array of illustrations created through time and across cultures. The exhibition runs from Oct. 5 to Jan. 5.
Guest curated by H. Nichols B. Clark, “Cinderella & Co.” includes more than 100 drawings from books illustrated by 35 artists, revealing both cultural and stylistic diversity. The work of 19th- and early 20th-century masters such as Walter Crane and L. Leslie Brooke provide examples of classic styles and Western interpretations of the three featured fairy tales, which influenced numerous artists in the exhibition, including Marcia Brown, Paul Galdone, Barbara McClintock and Jerry Pinkney.
Rich multicultural visualizations, such as those from China (Ed Young), the Spice Islands of Indonesia (Reynold Ruffins), the Caribbean (Brian Pinkney) and Mexico (Tomie dePaola), underscore the notion that these stories live in many different forms and lend themselves to diverse interpretation. Juxtaposed alongside more traditional retellings, contemporary versions with drawings that upend familiar narratives include the experimental and edgy visions imagined by Etienne Delessert, Steven Guarnaccia, Lane Smith, William Wegman, David Wiesner and Mo Willems.
The artists featured in the exhibition are: Mary Blair; L. Leslie Brooke; Marcia Brown; Kinuko Y. Craft; Walter Crane; Etienne Delessert; Tomie dePaola; Edmund DuLac; Jane Dyer; Paul Galdone; Steven Guarnaccia; John Hassall; Susan Jeffers; Steven Kellogg; James Marshall; Barbara McClintock; Beni Montresor; Brian Pinkney; Jerry Pinkney; Beatrix Potter; Arthur Rackham; Reynold Ruffins; Charles Santore; Lane Smith; Jessie Willcox Smith; Gennady Spirin; John Steptoe; Brinton Turkle; Walt Disney Studios; William Wegman; Leonard Weisgard; David Wiesner; Mo Willems; Ed Young; and Margot Zemach.
Special exhibition-themed programs and events include:
Children's Read-Aloud Tours (Thursdays, Oct. 3 through Nov. 14, 10:30 a.m.): Young children and their grown-ups hear a story, interact with art in the museum and make their own creative works. Admission is $5 per child, with one adult admitted free per child, and free for members.
First Sunday for Families: Fairy Tale Fun (Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.): Award-winning artist and illustrator Jerry Pinkney will discuss his work and sign books. Also featured will be a performance by the Academy of International Ballet of a variety of classical and contemporary works, as well as excerpts from the Nutcracker Ballet. Free admission.
Discussion and Book Signing with Jerry Pinkney (Oct. 6, noon to 2 p.m.): Artist Jerry Pinkney will discuss his creative process and distinguished career as an artist and illustrator. Prior to his talk, Pinkney will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase in the museum shop. Free admission
Reimagined Fairy Tales: A Conversation with H. Nichols B. Clark and Steven Guarnaccia (Oct. 24, 6 p.m.): Shake up what you know about fairy tales in this conversation with guest curator H. Nichols B. Clark and illustrator Steven Guarnaccia, whose creative interpretations of classic tales inspired the exhibition. In Guarnaccia’s versions, Cinderella’s apparel comes from some of the most famous fashion designers of the 20th and 21st centuries; the three bears are mid-20th-century hipsters living with high-end 20th-century furniture; and the three little pigs are architects Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright. A book signing and reception will follow. Titles by Guarnaccia will be available for purchase in the museum shop. $15 members, $20 non-members.
Stroller Tours: Cinderella and Co. (Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m.): Enjoy a relaxed morning out with your little one while engaging with art. This guided tour is designed especially for adults accompanied by babies. Stroller tours are offered once a month, each with a different theme. Free with museum admission
Creative Escape: Paper Quilled Snowflakes (Nov. 13, 6 to 8 p.m.): Designed for adults, this program will include a hands-on paper quilling activity led by professional artist Ann Martin. Participants will be introduced to the basic tools and techniques of paper quilling and will create a one-of-a-kind snowflake that can be used as an ornament or to embellish a gift this holiday season. The evening will also include an opportunity to view the exhibition. The program fee includes art materials and light refreshments. BYOB. $20 members; $25 non-members.
Illustrating for a Changing World (Nov. 20, 6 to 8 p.m.): To gain notice in an ever-changing world, books must keep up with the times. Join three-time Caldecott-winning illustrator, David Wiesner, as he discusses his strategy for staying current. Featured works will include Wiesner’s creative version of The Three Little Pigs; Spot, a story that is also a computer app; and the graphic novel Fish Girl. A book signing and reception will follow. Titles by Wiesner will be available for purchase in the museum shop. $15 members and teachers with school ID; $20 non-members.
Listen, Move and Create with Barbara McClintock (Nov. 23, 10:30 a.m. to noon): Families are invited to join author/illustrator Barbara McClintock as she shares her love of books and illustrating during an interactive reading of her book, The Five Forms. Afterwards, she will lead a creative craft influenced by the Chinese woodblock prints which inspired the illustrations in her book. Best for children ages 3-8 accompanied by an adult. $10 members; $15 non-members.
The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors ages 65 and older, $6 for students and children ages 6 and older; free for children 5 and younger and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members. For more information, call 610-388-2700 or visit www.brandywine.org/museum.