My usual book return to our local library brought me an unexpected treasure! A down pour of rain caught me by surprise yesterday but I was determined to return our over-due library books. As I desperately ran into the shelter of the library (7 months pregnant) I was curiously inspired to look into the "sale" book section. I had recently browsed the selection and left dejected only to find an abundance of soft covered romance novels (which I normally save to discreetly purchase at Amazon.com). After digging much longer than anticipated, I discovered Tales from the Ballet, adapted by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by A. and M. Provensen.
Lightly warn, this 1968 printed edition was a gem to come across! The beautifully detailed illustrations were painted by hand and was an example of the great collaboration by Alice and Martin Provensen. These two artists were a husband and wife team that met at Walter Lantz Studio in 1943 and later started illustrating books in New York for Little Golden Books.
Alice was given an opportunity to work and an animator on Woody Wood Pecker during the war when men were being drafted. In her illustrious career she has won the Caldecott Honor, Caldecott Medal and Carle Honors Award. Alice continued to illustrate at 91 (she is currently 97).
Martin passed from a heart attack on March 27, 1987. He began his career at Walt Disney Studio in LA and later met Alice at Walter Lantz Studio. They both worked on war-related projects before moving to Washington, D.C. and later New York to begin their successful illustration careers.
This beautiful book sits on my inspiration shelf in my studio and I smile every time my eye catches it. Surprisingly, this book only cost a $1.00. You never know what you are going to come across at your local library!
* Facts about Alice and Martin Provensen were researched on www.popmatters.com and unashamedly Wikipedia