Every Picture Tells a Story -The Dornish Collection

From "What's the Big Idea, Molly?" ©2010 Valeri Gorbachev

Kutztown University Sharadin Gallery

Opening Thurs, Oct. 21, 4–6 p.m.

Rare treats await visitors to Kutztown University’s Sharadin Gallery this fall. The exhibition features over 75 original works of art created to illustrate children’s books. This is an opportunity to view a wide variety of artistic media, oil, mixed media, watercolor, and a remarkable diversity of styles from some of the world’s best-known illustrators. Included are works by Wendell Minor, Tedd Arnold, Robert Sabuda, Brett Helquist, Gennady Spirin, Valeri Gorbachev, Tomie dePaola, and Caldecott winners Uri Shulevitz, Gerald McDermott, Jerry Pinkney, and Leo and Diane Dillon.

"Hana" from the Dornish Collection © Bagram Ibatoulline

Dr. Robert Dornish, Kutztown University Professor Emeritus, taught for over 28 years in the Elementary Education Dept, beginning in 1969. He fondly recalls the point in his career when a last-minute change of schedule found him teaching children’s literature. While he and his wife Alice often read classic literature aloud to their own children, for his new course he sought out the best in current children’s books. At conferences and bookshops, he struck up friendships with many of the nation’s leading illustrators. He began collecting signed first editions, many now housed in Kutztown’s Rohrbach Library.

Dr. Robert Dornish

After the book collection came the collection of original art. It began with a single painting, when Alice gave him a large oil landscape by illustrator Thomas Locker as a gift. The collection has since grown to nearly 180 pieces. Portions of the collection have been exhibited at the Reading Museum and the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, Bethlehem. Individual pieces have been exhibited in museums nationwide, including the Allentown Art Museum, the Brandywine Museum, and the Orlando Museum of Art. The Kutztown selection is the largest number ever exhibited.

Highlights of this show include a 3-D pop-up model of Robert Sabuda’s 2003 version of Alice in Wonderland and works by a number of Pennsylvania artists. Two Kutztown alumni are included: Erick Ingraham and Tom Warburton. Ingraham has illustrated over a dozen award-winning books; his contribution is a painting from Faye Gibbon’s Night in the Barn. Warburton, a Communication Design grad, the creator of the animated series CodeName: Kids Next Door, is now writing and illustrating books. Art from Warburton’s 2009 book, 1000 Times No is one of the most recent additions to the collection and the exhibition.

Dates: October 21 – November 21, 2010.  Opening Reception: Thursday, October 21, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m Sharadin Gallery, Kutztown University. Dr. Dornish will be at the reception (which happens to be his 73rd birthday) and he will lead an informal gallery talk on Sat. Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. Gallery and events are free and open to the public.

Art from "Parts" © 1997 Tedd Arnold, used with permission of the artist

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