|Image: Maurice Sendak/Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, via LA Times|
If you look closely, you will discover a master at work in the art of subtlety: Notice the heavy crosshatching used to weigh down a world-weary Gandalf contrasted with the open, airy line work that renders the jovial Bilbo. These depictions speak in an artistic conversation that has been ongoing for centuries, yet they are immediate and approachable by the child of today.Read the rest of the article to get the full story.
As Sendak noted passages for possible illustration and sketched in the margins of his copy of the book, the publisher prepared the art samples for Tolkien’s approval. The editor mislabeled the samples, however, identifying the wood-elves as “hobbits,” as Sendak recalled to Maguire. This blunder nettled Tolkien. His reply was that Sendak had not read the book closely and did not know what a hobbit was. Consequently, Tolkien did not approve the drawings. Sendak was furious.
I find this fascinating and heartbreaking all at once. Sendak's art is vibrant and original and his interpretation may have defined fantasy for a generation had it made it to publication. Sadly, where the wild things are not is Middle Earth.
What do you think?