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Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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*Starred Review* Everyone who grew up entertained, provoked, and enlightened by Dr. Seuss books will love this big, color-saturated volume covering 70 years of published and private art by the master of smart, loopy fun. Here are examples of Theodor Geisel’s clever, now ironic advertising work, including a rambunctious campaign for Flit, an insecticide containing DDT. Geisel’s political cartoons and magazine illustrations are animated by his phenomenal gift for line and color, mischievous humor, and humanitarian values. It is thrilling, too, to see the original drawings for Green Eggs and Ham and other Seuss classics. But the big discoveries in this bountiful and redefining volume are his “Midnight Paintings,” surreal watercolors, oils, and acrylics featuring tiny figures in a vast, labyrinthine world, and private versions of his expressive characters, especially the Cat, his alternate identity. Geisel’s vibrant, trippy, hilarious, and poignant art plays on Hieronymus Bosch, M. C. Escher, and Persian miniatures. Every creature, plant, architectural marvel, object, and landscape is wriggling, leaping, flying, arcing, tilting, and rolling. When he dives into abstraction, he plunges into a deep chromatic sea, while his taxidermic sculptures prove just how real his sweet and goofy invented critters were to him. Spectacular reproductions and excellent, if episodic, commentary map Geisel’s exuberant, world-altering artistic journey on what he would call “long wiggled roads” into “weirdish wild space.” --Donna Seaman
About the Author
Chase Art Companies:
Beyond the familiar faces featured in Dr. Seuss’s children’s books, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) created a separate body of paintings and sculptures, which have rarely been seen by the public. Since 1997 Chase Art Companies has worked to bring this collection of artworks into the public view. Reproductions of those images, as well as limited editions derived from his original book illustrations, are exhibited in galleries and museums around the world alongside the works of Rembrandt, Picasso, Miró, and Warhol. To learn more about The Art of Dr. Seuss please visit www.DrSeussArt.com.
Lionheart Books is a packager located in Atlanta. Headed by former Turner publisher Michael Reagan, Lionheart has produced such New York Times best-sellers as The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are descriptions of events in his life and his work. They include the beginnings of Horton, calendars and many advertisements that he illustrated. The pictures are all well done and clear, many of them cover a whole page or even extending onto the next page. Each work has the medium it was done on and its title; although I wish they would have included the year it was made. The book is in mostly chronological order. Photos of Theodore Geisel are included. His work shows, in an interesting way, his social conscience.
This is a well done book, although one should be aware that it was published previously as `Secrets of the Deep' and it is sold as a very costly limited edition, but if you search you can find the regular book at a fraction of the limited edition's cost.
It is an interesting compilation of Seuss' work and life that fans of his and those of art would enjoy.
I read this book in e-book form and found the art beautiful to look at, so I imagine the printed version will be stunning. Colorful, imaginative, and informative, The Cat Behind the Hat, was a smile-inducing, thoughtful, and a few times, when being reminded of especially good memories I have of Dr. Seuss's books, a bit tearful for me to read. I especially loved the section that discussed his foray into children's books, which came much later in his life. Oh, the places Dr. Seuss went...this book takes a reader there and lets them share a bit in the life that touched so many of us.
But Seuss had a long and varied career as advertising illustrator, political cartoonist, and more, and still had time on his hands. Since a real artist must create art, he did - and kept it for his own amusement. He realized that his own passing made his privacy irrelevant, and left behind these wonderful works for us to enjoy, There's plenty of informative biographical text here, but it's really about the artwork: oils, acrylics, watercolors, sketches and mockups for his books, even slightly deranged sculptures. My one complaint (and I complain very quietly) is that the works reproduced here rarely, if ever come with mention of the year they were created. Perhaps that information was never available - but its lack prevents me from tracing themes and styles through different eras of his long and productive life. Despite that minor flaw, this has my highest recommendation for anyone who grew up loving his wonderful work.
There's text but it doesn't get in the way, and a couple of short essays by Seuss himself, including one on how the original Cat came to be written. There are sketches showing how some of his most famous books developed. And through it all there is Seussery.
I like it, but that is only to be expected, as I regard Dr. Seuss as the children's entertainer (author, artist, moviemaker...) of the twentieth century.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
all the Avenues the artist took besides the cat!
the adult work, just an amazing book you must have, you must see it