top of page

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak was one of the most influential writers and illustrators in the world of children's literature. Born on June 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish parents, Sendak's childhood was marked by the memories of his extended family lost in the Holocaust, a theme that subtly influenced his work.


Sendak developed an early passion for drawing and went on to study at the Art Students League in New York. His career began as an illustrator for other authors before he started writing his own stories. Over the course of his prolific career, he illustrated more than 100 books and authored several others.


His most famous work, "Where the Wild Things Are," published in 1963, broke conventional rules of children's storytelling and brought a new depth of emotion and complexity to the genre. The book tells the story of a young boy named Max who escapes to a world filled with wild and whimsical creatures. Sendak's evocative illustrations and narrative won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 and forever changed the landscape of children's literature.


Other notable works by Sendak include "In the Night Kitchen" and "Outside Over There." His illustrations often carried a blend of fantasy and reality, a mix of whimsy and darkness that resonated with both children and adults. 


Maurice Sendak's work was not confined to books alone. He also ventured into television, opera, and ballet, showcasing his talents in various artistic fields. The small drawing included in this exhibit was given to his book designer at Dial Books, and references Really Rosie, a musical adaptation of the Nutshell Library books.


Sendak's contributions to literature were recognized with numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts, which he received in 1996. He was also a strong advocate for the creative rights of artists and worked tirelessly to support artistic expression.


Sadly, Maurice Sendak passed away on May 8, 2012, but his legacy continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world. His ability to explore the psychological depth of children's emotions, coupled with his mastery of visual storytelling, has made his work timeless.


Maurice Sendak's books continue to be celebrated as landmarks in children's literature, and his groundbreaking approach to storytelling is still studied and admired. His bold creativity and unwavering commitment to his craft have left an indelible mark on the world of literature and art, cementing his reputation as one of the great masters of his time.

bottom of page