BY ANGIE LIU-WHO
All of it was there.
The Art of Dr. Seuss was celebrated with care!
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. On Saturday, Liss Gallery celebrated the grand opening of The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection, an exhibition that will run for five weeks.
Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore (Ted) Geisel, is mostly known for his work in children’s literature. His unique language and art style has made his work timeless. What many people aren’t aware of is his Secret Art collection. Geisel created a hundred paintings that were never seen until after his death in 1991. Liss Gallery has several of these paintings on display, along with prints, illustrations, and sculptures made with papier-mâché and real animal parts.
The gallery has represented the Art of Dr. Seuss exclusively in Eastern Canada for 15 years. They work with Audrey Geisel, Seuss’ widow, to obtain these limited edition prints and paintings.
“The funny thing is, the paintings aren’t necessarily for kids. Some of them have drinking and smoking, and some even have nudity in them,” says David Reed, director of Liss Gallery. Reed’s favourite painting is called Martini Bird, because “it’s not what you would think about Dr. Seuss.”
Geisel’s work was highly influenced by surrealism and politics. He was a political cartoonist and ad man in his early career, and this became part of his work in children’s literature too. His paintings and the characters he created show that he was inspired by surrealist art.
The event was attended by people of all ages: children, their parents and grandparents, art lovers and fans of Dr. Seuss. “As an art gallery,” says Reed, “we’re drawn to the fact that Dr. Seuss, for us, has the biggest collector base of any artist that we have because multiple generations are into the books. Kids now will read his books to their kids. All these people are going to be interested in his art.”
For the grand opening, Liss Gallery hosted a party in the evening with food, wine, carollers and a live retelling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas performed by Scott McClelland. McClelland produced Carnival Diablo and The Paranormal Show, and says he’s been perfecting his live storytelling since the 1980s.
“I want people to come [to the exhibition] to learn and understand that [Geisel] is a very significant artist,” says Reed, “but as long as people enjoy it and they walk away with a smile, I think that’s what Seuss is all about. I think that would make him happy too.”
The Art of Dr. Seuss collection is on display at Liss Gallery from Dec. 2 to Jan. 6.