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  • Karen Provensen Mitchell

The Grolier Club Lecture by Leonard S. Marcus

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Glorious Flights: The Illustration Art of Alice and Martin Provensen



Leonard S. Marcus, Grolier member and preeminent authority and writer on children's books and their creators, discussed the careers of two ground-breaking American children's book artists on December 13, 2021 in a virtual lecture.

The Provensens brought modernist flair and a deep knowledge of historical styles of art and decoration to a seamless collaboration that lasted over 40 years. From The Iliad and the Odyssey and Tales from the Ballet to their 1984 Caldecott Medal-winning The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot, this couple created an astonishing body of work that is ripe for rediscovery. This program coincides with the publication of The Art of Alice and Martin Provensen (Chronicle, 2022), the first illustrated monograph devoted to the life and work of one of American children's literature's most accomplished collaboration teams. Marcus wrote the book's lead essay; other contributors include former New Yorker editor-in-chief Robert Gottlieb and the artists' daughter, Karen Provensen.

Leonard Marcus is one of the world’s leading writers about children’s books and the people who create them. He is the author of Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon, The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth, Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing, and other books; and is the editor most recently of You Can't Say That!, a collection of interviews about censorship in literature for young people. His commentaries have been featured in The New York Times and on radio and television. A founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum, he curated the New York Public Library's landmark exhibition "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter;" and was recently named editor-at-large at Astra Publishing House.


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