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Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey Book

Item # 27381
In Stock: Ships the Next Business Day


By all appearances the world according to Edward Gorey (1925-2000) is a deeply troubling place. Dire plots filled with hapless victims and shadowy villains unfold on the eternally crepuscular stage created by Gorey's exquisite, crosshatched ink drawings. Doom is always waiting in the wings. Yet despite its foreboding nature, this world is surprisingly inviting. Depictions of the demise of innocent children elicit laughter; clever couplets relating tales of mayhem are somehow delightful. One cannot help but feel uneasy about having so much fun perusing Gorey's dark scenarios.

In Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey, more than 175 reproductions offer a rich review of his work, including samples from his own books, illustrations produced for other writers, theatrical sets and costume designs, and a wealth of individual pieces, many never before published. Sketches, typewritten manuscripts, doodles, and musings join the generous selection of finished works, which include his trademark finely detailed ink drawings and watercolors.

The text by Karen Wilkin, an expert on Gorey's work and a friend of the artist, offers an intimate review of his career, with insights that provide a fresh understanding of Gorey's life and art.

Published on the occasion of the first retrospective of Edward Gorey's work, at the Brandywine River Museum, Elegant Enigmas is a long-overdue tribute to a master artist and writer, who with sharp intellect and devastatingly wry humor created a body of work singular in its brilliance and charm.

Text by Karen Wilkin. 124 pages with more than 175 color and black-and-white illustrations and exhibition checklist. Size: 8 1/2 x 10 1/2" smyth-sewn casebound book, with jacket. 2.2 lbs.

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