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Arthur Rackham (British, 1867-1939)

Paintings

Biography:
Arthur Rackham was a popular British book illustrator until his death from cancer in 1939 in his native Surrey. In fact, his new works were still being published after his death with the publication in 1940 of "The Wind in the Willows" with sixteen of his pieces in full color. His favored genre was fables and fairy tales, though he also illustrated volumes of Shakespeare's plays, literary adaptions of Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" operas and a 1907 edition of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," among many others.

Born in London in 1867 as part of a large family, Arthur Rackham traveled to Australia for his health at the age of 17. The following year he came back home and began taking courses in art and illustration. At the age of 26, he sold his first set of book illustrations for a book of fairy tales. His work immediately became very popular.

He married Edythe Starkie in 1903; they had one daughter, Barbara, born 1908.

His work is considered a fusion of the strong emotion of Nordic folk art and the stark beauty and simplicity of Japanese woodcuts. His work is often seen today on many greeting cards and in the re-issues of the books for which he contributed illustrations. His original paintings and pen-and-ink drawings are considered collectors items and are avidly bought and sold at major auction houses throughout the world.

Among his best-known works are his color illustrations for a 1935 edition of Hans Christian Andersen's "Fairy Tales," a 1915 edition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and his innovative silhouettes for an edition of "Cinderella" published in 1919.

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