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Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey

February - June 2011

“I just kind of conjured them up out of my subconscious and put them in order of ascending peculiarity.” —Edward Gorey

 
Edward Gorey, The Gashlycrumb tinies, or, After the outing. New York : Harcourt Brace, [1991], c1963.

Carnivorous plants, falling masonry, and uninvited guests fill the imaginary world of artist and author Edward Gorey. His stories and accompanying illustrations maintain a delicate balance between the hilarious and the horrific.

Gorey’s voracious consumption of literature, his love of the ballet, and his off beat and wry view of the world resulted in a sardonic and witty oeuvre. This exhibition explores the diversity of Gorey’s art through original pen and ink illustrations, preparatory sketches, unpublished drawings, and ephemera. Drawn from the holdings of the Gorey Charitable Trust, the exhibition comprises approximately 180 objects, including selections from The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Unstrung Harp, The Gilded Bat, and other well-known Gorey publications.

Edward Gorey, Detail from The Object Lesson, unpublished cover. ©Edward Gorey Charitable trust 2011.

Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) was born in Chicago, educated at Harvard, and lived in New York. He wrote over 100 books, including The Eclectic Abecedarium, The Doubtful Guest, and The Wuggly Ump; created prize-winning set and costume designs for productions for theaters from Cape Cod to Broadway; and published illustrations in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Times and for books by authors such as Charles Dickens, Edward Lear, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Virginia Woolf, and H.G. Wells. His animated credits for the PBS series Mystery introduced him to millions of television viewers. His masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world.

This exhibition is organized by the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by curator and critic Karen Wilkin. The exhibition at the Boston Athenæum is organized by David B. Dearinger, Susan Morse Hilles Curator of Paintings & Sculpture.

  
Edward Gorey, B is for Basil assualted by bears. © 2011 The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.; Edward Gorey, ‘I am the Bahum Bug,’ it declared. © 2011 The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.; Edward Gorey, They searched the cellars Fruitlessly. © 2011 The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

Gorey books in the Athenæum Collection

Works Written and Illustrated by Edward Gorey

Amphigorey
1972
VEA +G669

Amphigorey also
1983
+ PS3513.O614 A87

Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey: Interviews
2001
CT275.G6725 A5 2001

Awdrey-Gore legacy
1972
VEA .G669

Doubtful guest 
1978-1957
PS3513.O614 D6 1978

Epiplectic bicycle
1969
PS3513.O614 E6

Gashlycrumb tinies, or, After the outing
1997-1963
PS3557.O753 .G37 1997

Haunted tea-cosy : a dispirited and distasteful diversion for Christmas 
1997
PN6231.C36 G67 1997

Headless bust : a melancholy meditation on the false millennium 
1999
PS3557.O753 H43 1999

Listing attic [and] The unstrung harp
1975
VEA .G669 .l

Loathsome couple
1977
VEA .G669 .lo

Merrill Moore and the American sonnet
1954
VEP .M7834 .zm

Object-lesson
2002-1958
PS3557.O753 O25 2002

Other statue
2001-1968
PS3557.O753 O84 2001

Utter zoo
1967
PS3513.O614 U8 1967

Works about Edward Gorey

Elephant house : or, the home of Edward Gorey 
McDermott, Kevin
2003
+ NX512.G67 M33 2003

World of Edward Gorey 
Ross, Clifford
1996
NX512.G67 R67 1996

Works with Illustrations by Edward Gorey

Case record from a sonnetorium
Moore, Merrill
1951
VEP .M7834 .ca

Chessmen of doom 
Bellairs, John
2000-1989
PZ7.B413 Ch 2000

Cultural slag
Lamport, Felicia
1966
VEA .L1984 .c

Ghost in the mirror 
Bellairs, John
1993
PZ7.B413 Gh 1993

Haunted looking glass : ghost stories  
2001-1959
PR1309.G5 E38 2001

House with a clock in its walls
Bellairs, John
1973
PZ7.B413 Ho

Lamp from the warlock's tomb 
Bellairs, John
1999-1988
PZ7.B413 Lam 1999

Light metres
Lamport, Felicia
1982
PS3523.A449 L5 1982

Mummy, the will, and the crypt 
Bellairs, John
1983
PZ7.B413 Mu 1983

Old possum's book of practical cats
Eliot, T. S.
1982-1939
PS3509.L43 O55 1982

Pippin's journal: or rosemary is for remembrance
O'Grady, Rohan
1962
PZ4.O35455 Pi

Scrap irony
Lamport, Felicia
1961
VEA .L1984 .s

Shrinking of Treehorn
Heide, Florence Parry
1971
PZ7.H36 Sh

Spell of the sorcerer's skull 
Bellairs, John
1997-1984
PZ7.B413 Sp 1997

Trolley to yesterday
Bellairs, John
1998-1989
PZ7.B413 Tr 1998

Works with Contributions by Edward Gorey
Classics for pleasure
Dirda, Michael
2007
PN524 .D57 2007

Costumes by Karinska
Bentley, Toni
1995
+ TT505.K373 B46 1995

Extraordinary realities
Robert M. Doty
1973
G8 no. 12