ABOUT THE ARTISTS AND THEIR WORKS
James McMullan – LEAVING CHINA: AN ARTIST PAINTS HIS WORLD WAR II LIFE
Leaving China, a memoir by James McMullan, is inspired by his World War II childhood, and the family’s travels from China to India, Canada, and the United States. “It is this dreamlike quality of my memories that I wanted to capture in some way in the paintings that accompany the text–to suggest in the images that the events occurred a long time ago in a simpler yet more exotic world, and that the players in that world, including me, are at a distance.”
James McMullan was born in Tsingtao, North China, in 1934, the grandson of missionaries who settled there. As a little boy, he took for granted a privileged life until World War II erupted and his world dramatically changed. McMullan’s father, a British citizen fluent in several Chinese dialects, joined the Allied forces. For the next several years, he and his mother moved from one place to another—Shanghai, San Francisco, Vancouver, Darjeeling—first escaping Japanese occupation then trying to find security, with no clear destination except the unpredictable end of the war. For the artist, those ever-changing years took on the quality of a dream, sometimes a nightmare, a feeling that persists in the stunning full-page, full-color paintings that along with their accompanying text tell the story of Leaving China, a Booklist Top 10 Biography for Youth. This personal memoir comprising more than fifty illustrations explores how the artist’s early childhood in China and wartime journeys with his mother influenced his whole life, especially his painting and illustration. Photographs, personal correspondence and telegrams, and cherished childhood books and artifacts accompany the installation.
McMullan’s distinctive watercolor illustrations have appeared on the pages of virtually every American magazine including Esquire, New York, and The New York Times Magazine, in best-selling picture books, and on the posters for more than seventy Lincoln Center theater productions, including Anything Goes, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Six Degrees of Separation, Pipeline, and My Fair Lady. To celebrate this achievement, Lincoln Center recently mounted a permanent exhibition of his original poster art in the lobby of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater.
David Macaulay – CROSSING ON TIME: STEAM ENGINES, FAST SHIPS, AND A JOURNEY TO A NEW WORLD
Caldecott Award-winning artist David Macaulay documents both his own family’s immigration story and the state-of-the art ship that made high speed ocean travel possible. The creator of the best-selling illustrated book, The Way Things Work, the artist brings his signature curiosity, in-depth research, and detailed observations to the story of the steamship in a meticulously constructed and stunningly illustrated book.
Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever. The book and an exciting plethora of related studies, ship models, photographs, and more, trace the artist’s personal journey from England to the United States, and the unprecedented engineering project that culminated in the building of the most advanced steamship of its time⸺the SS United States. The design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer, William Francis Gibbs, are fully explored, framed by Macaulay’s own poignant story, as he and his family crossed the Atlantic on this marvel of technology and engineering.
An award-winning author and artist who has helped us to understand the workings of everything from simple gadgets to monumental structures, Macaulay employs pictures and words to reveal the secret lives of buildings, the wonders of the human body, and the common sense in the design of everyday things. A gifted visual storyteller, he inspires discovery by demystifying the complexities of our world while celebrating the places the imagination takes us when we least expect it.
Transcending the boundaries of time, culture, and geography, David Macaulay’s award-winning books reveal his lifelong love of history, and are beloved by readers throughout the world. A Caldecott Medalist and recipient of a prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, he is perhaps best known for his international best seller, The Way Things Work, but his many titles include The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body, Cathedral, City, Castle, Pyramid, Mill, Underground, Unbuilding, Mosque, and Ship. David’s elegant, whimsical picture books include Rome Antics, Shortcut, and Black and White, the winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal. His art was the subject of an enthusiastically received exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, titled Building Books: The Art of David Macaulay, which traveled to fourteen museum venues nationwide.
Frances Jetter – AMALGAM
Frances Jetter’s Amalgam is an illustrated history of the life and times of her immigrant labor unionist grandfather who left Poland in 1911 when it was still part of the Russian Empire. Although the Russian Army no longer conscripted twelve-year-old Jewish children to serve thirty-one year-long tours of duty, her grandfather chose to evade their draft. After finding work as a pocket maker in a New York garment factory, he became a foot soldier in America’s army of labor, and spent his life fighting for a living wage. Amalgam focuses on his dual roles as a union member advocating for democracy in the workplace, and as a dictatorial patriarch of his Brooklyn family, waging a war against frivolity and toys. This powerful illustrated book contrasts old world ways with the desire to assimilate, and follows the family and the union through the Great Depression and World War II to the 1960s, and the union’s decline. The artist’s sequential narrative is cut from linoleum, with some imagery featuring complex chine collé additions from lithographic or digital prints.
A labor of love, Amalgam has been under construction for almost a decade, and is extraordinary among her extensive body of work, which includes prints, artist’s books, and drawings focusing on political and socially-significant subject matter. Her images have illustrated articles in the New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Nation, the Village Voice, The Progressive, and others. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is featured in the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, Detroit Institute of Arts, The New York Public Library, and Grinnell College Print and Drawing Study Room, Grinnell, Iowa. Her artist’s books are included in the Library of Congress’ Rare Books and Special Collections, The New York Public Library’s Spencer Collection, and in numerous public and private collections. She is the recent recipient of a New York Public Library Fellowship, which enabled her to expand and complete Amalgam, which will be on view along with process works from the book and unique mementos of her family’s life.
Yuyi Morales – DREAMERS
In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the United States with her infant son, Kelly, leaving behind everything she owned. Their passage was difficult and Morales spoke no English at the time, but she found solace and inspiration in an unexpected place―a San Francisco public library. Book by book, they unraveled the language and customs of their unfamiliar new land and found ways to make their home within it.
A poetic, personal memoir, Dreamers is a celebration of what immigrants bring with them when they leave home. A beautiful and powerful reflection with particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless. The lyrical text is complemented by sumptuously illustrations, and an autobiographical essay about the artist’s own experience, a list of books that inspired her, and a description of the images, textures, and mementos that inspired her to create this book are featured.
Dreamers is the winner of the winner of the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award; a New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2018; a 2019 Boston Globe – Horn Book Honor Recipient; an Anna Dewdney Read Together Honor Book; an instant New York Times bestseller, with seven starred reviews; named a Best Book of 2018 by Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, NPR, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and others. Morales’ original books include Just a Minute, Niño Wrestles the World and Little Night Nochecita, and works by other authors like Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased, Ladder to the Moon, Los Gatos Black en Halloween, My Abuelita, Sand Sister, and Floating on Mama’s Song.