In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the beloved children’s book set in Boston, Make Way for Ducklings (1941), this exhibition tracks the career of the book’s author and illustrator Robert McCloskey (1914–2003). The recipient of two Caldecott Medals and three Caldecott Honors, McCloskey was a major force in 20th-century picture book art, and “Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey” provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to enter the author’s delightful world.
With art from Make Way for Ducklings at its center, the retrospective presents more than 50 works, including studies for other books written and illustrated by McCloskey: Lentil (1940), Homer Price (1943) and Centerburg Tales (1951), which recall his youth in rural Ohio, and popular Maine tales including Blueberries for Sal (1948) and Time of Wonder (1957). Works are drawn primarily from the rich, but rarely exhibited holdings of the May Massee Collection at Emporia State University in Kansas.
An exhibition highlight is the miniature bronze model for Nancy Schön’s Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, commissioned for the Boston Public Garden in 1985. As well as celebrating McCloskey’s achievements as author-illustrator, the retrospective also includes a selection of his independent work connecting him to prominent American painters such as Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper.
Don’t miss this opportunity to share the classic Make Way for Ducklings with a new generation and take a walk down Memory Lane, or at least the paths of the Boston Public Garden, to a simpler time, through the work of this dearly loved artist, author, and illustrator.
Above: Robert McCloskey, Drawing for Make Way for Ducklings (“There they waded ashore and waddled along till they came to the highway.”), 1941. Graphite on paper. Courtesy of The May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives, Emporia State University.