February 10—May 6, 2018
“I’m inspired by practically anything visual or verbal—or even real life.” – Edward Gorey
Gorey’s Worlds is the first exhibition to explore the artistic inspiration of the famed American artist and author, Edward Gorey (1925-2000). For more than 50 years, he delighted and amused audiences with spare pen and ink drawings that illustrated tales of hapless children, kohl-eyed swooning maidens, and whimsical creatures.
Gorey’s Worlds is centered on his personal art collection, which he chose to bequeath to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the only public institution to receive his legacy. Gorey held the institution in high regard for reasons including a shared connection to the ballet and famed choreographer George Balanchine, whose histories date back to 1933 at the Wadsworth Atheneum. When Gorey lived in New York City, he attended nearly every performance of the New York City Ballet under Balanchine’s direction from 1953-1983, and he frequently stopped in Hartford when traveling between the city and his Cape Cod house in Yarmouth Port.
This pioneering exhibition explores Gorey, his work, and the artists Gorey admired and collected. Works range in style, era, and media—from 19 century prints and drawings to contemporary art from the 1970s and 1980s. Through 73 works on paper by Atget, Bonnard, Balthus and others as well as anonymous folk art, visitors will step into Gorey’s imagination by viewing the art he collected alongside his own sketches, drawings, prints, and art books. Rarely seen portraits and personal effects, such as his distinctive fur coats and metal jewelry, further bring Gorey himself to life.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.