Shop Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet

Maurice Sendak (1928–2012), author and illustrator of beloved children’s books, was an avid fan of music who had his own successful “second act” as a set and costume designer for opera and ballet. Sendak’s iconic, muted color palette and whimsical but sophisticated designs for theater reflect his love of Old Master artworks and literature and reference popular animation, folklore, and comic and picture book art. Like his children’s books, these stage designs present worlds that are both magical and mysterious, joyful and volatile, places where one might feel at times like an outsider, a theme which resonated with Sendak’s own lived experience.

This summer, experience the art of Maurice Sendak as you have never before. Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet features more than one hundred enchanting illustrations, detailed dioramas, and clever costumes — all in Sendak’s signature style — created for stage productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and his own Where the Wild Things Are. This exhibition is suited for all audiences, young and old, and welcomes wild things and ferocious beasts; kings, queens, and nobles; mischievous children; and lovable characters of every kind.

Gift at the Gardner presents a collection for Sendak fans of all ages. Join us and be transported from page to stage to faraway places.











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