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Hidden Treasure: Original Children's Book Illustration from the Cedar Rapids Public Library

January 27 - May 13, 2007

Illustrator H.A. (Hans Augusto) Rey, (1898-1977), Curious George, from correspondence, 1960, © Houghton Mifflin Company.
Unbeknownst to many in the Cedar Rapids community and eastern Iowa in general, the Cedar Rapids Public Library (CRPL) possesses an extraordinary collection of original children's book illustrations. Begun in the 1960s by an exceptional Children's Librarian, Evelyn Zerzanek, children's book authors and illustrators were approached and asked to donate a work to the library for the children of Cedar Rapids. Over the course of twenty years, the collection grew to more than 800 pieces, and includes a full range of works—from pen and ink drawings to watercolor paintings—representing various scenes and characters from numerous childhood favorites.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) is partnering with the CRPL to present a major exhibition of this little-known collection to a much broader audience. Not only will this exhibition heighten awareness for this important local collection--a hidden treasure--but it is also in keeping with the CRMA's long history of presenting children's book illustration as an art form. Visitors will delight in seeing works featuring such prominent and imaginative characters as Curious George, Madeline, Babar, and Dennis the Menace, just to name a few.


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