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News Room

Oliver Jeffers’ Picture Book Art on View at High Museum of Art This Spring

January 19, 2022

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Exhibition is sixth in a series presented in conjunction with a world-premiere play by the Alliance Theatre

“Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books”
April 15-Aug. 7, 2022

ATLANTA, Jan. 19, 2022 — This spring, the High Museum of Art will present “Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” (April 15-Aug. 7, 2022), featuring 80 original drawings, sketches and finished illustrations by the award-winning artist and children’s book author. The retrospective exhibition draws from 16 of Jeffers’ picture books spanning his career, including the wildly popular New York Times bestseller “The Day the Crayons Quit” as well as “The Incredible Book Eating Boy,” “A Child of Books” and “Once Upon an Alphabet.”

Organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the exhibition continues the High’s multiyear initiative to engage family audiences and inspire the Museum’s youngest visitors through picture book art.

“One of the guiding principles of our mission is a commitment to family audiences,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “By sharing the wonderful illustrations and stories in Jeffers’ books, we can help our young visitors appreciate that art is everywhere, and for everyone. As children engage with the images in the galleries, their experience will reinforce the important life lessons in Jeffers’ books, which relate to empathy, acceptance, friendship, love and loss.”

Born in Australia, raised in Northern Ireland and now based in Brooklyn, New York, Jeffers has written and illustrated more than 20 picture books in his career. From his 2004 debut “How to Catch a Star” to his more recent titles such as 2017’s “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” his work has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.

As an artist and storyteller, Jeffers crafts tales imbued with humor and humanity, with characters and creatures that have fascinated both children and adults alike.

“It is a thrill to present Jeffers’ artworks to our audiences and show them how he creates his fantastical worlds and connects them to the lives of his readers,” said Melissa Katzin, exhibition curator and manager of family programs at the High. “His books continue to inspire joy and bring hope, things that are so needed right now.”

The exhibition will be organized into six sections, focused on Jeffers’ artistic process, character development and storytelling. They will also highlight some of Jeffers’ most popular book series, including those that explore the secret lives of crayons and the relationship dynamics of The Huey family, who are inspired by Jeffers’ own childhood.

In addition to engaging graphics and design elements, the galleries will feature a few reading areas where families can dig deeper into the stories.

Books featured in the exhibition will include the following:

  • “How to Catch a Star” (2004), which tells the tale of a boy who loved the stars so much he had to catch one.
  • “Lost and Found” (2005), about the journey of a boy and a lost, or perhaps just lonely, penguin. The book was subsequently made into an animated film.
  • “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” (2006), about Henry, who luckily learns to enjoy books without using his teeth.
  • “The Heart and the Bottle” (2009), an award-winning tale of a young girl who decided to place her heart in a bottle to keep it safe.
  • “This Moose Belongs to Me” (2012), which comically relates the trials and tribulations of ownership, antlers and the rules of being a good pet.
  • “The Day the Crayons Quit” (2013), about what happens when crayons go on strike, and its sequel, “The Day the Crayons Came Home” (2015), featuring stories of lost and runaway crayons.
  • “Once Upon an Alphabet” (2014), in which Jeffers imagines life stories for all the letters, from A the astronaut to Z the zeppelin.
  • “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth” (2017), Jeffers’ guide to living with kindness and tolerance, created for his son.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center, of which the High is also an arts partner, will present the world-premiere musical “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” (July 13-Aug. 7, 2022), based on Jeffers’ beloved book. The Alliance’s production is written by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Madhuri Shekar and will be directed by Jamil Jude (artistic director, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre). The production’s music is by Christian Magby with lyrics by Christian Albright.

The exhibition and play are made possible through a grant to The Woodruff Arts Center from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to expand programming and increase access for family audiences. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts and culture and is part of the family of foundations that also includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

“Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” will be presented in the special exhibition galleries on the Second Level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.

About Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers is a visual artist and author working in painting, bookmaking, illustration, collage, performance and sculpture. While investigating the ways the human mind understands the world, his work also functions as comic relief in the face of futility. Jeffers’ engagements and practice are truly international in scope. His original artwork has been exhibited at such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Palais Auersperg in Vienna. Jeffers has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award, a Bologna Ragazzi Award, an Irish Book Award and a United Kingdom Literary Association Award. Jeffers grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and he currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Exhibition Organization and Support
“Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” is organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. This exhibition is made possible by Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters ACT Foundation, Inc., Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate, and wish foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters Robin and Hilton Howell; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters The Antinori Foundation, Corporate Environments, The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation, and Elizabeth and Chris Willett; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Marcia and John Donnell, Mrs. Peggy Foreman, Helen C. Griffith, Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Joel Knox and Joan Marmo, Dr. Joe B. Massey, Margot and Danny McCaul, The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust, Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller, The Fred and Rita Richman Fund, In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens, USI Insurance Services, and Mrs. Harriet H. Warren. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.

About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 18,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.

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Media contact:

Marci Tate Davis
Manager of Public Relations
marci.davis@high.org
404-733-4585