NASHVILLE, TN – Sept. 18, 2019 – “Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’” an exhibition of more than 100 original artworks by one of the most acclaimed and beloved illustrators, will be on display Oct. 18, 2019-Feb. 23, 2020 in the Frist Art Museum’s Upper-Level Galleries.
The exhibition draws from the Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle and organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Eric Carle (b. 1929), creator of more than 70 books, is world renowned for combining charming stories and colorful forms that appeal to young readers and adults. His signature artistic technique is collage, made by hand-painting sheets of tissue paper and then cutting, assembling, and gluing pieces onto illustration board.
The exhibition spans 50 years of Carle’s picture-book career—from “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?,” his 1967 collaboration with author Bill Martin Jr., to “The Nonsense Show,” Carle’s playful ode to Surrealism, published in 2015. It pays special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Carle’s most popular book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and offers an in-depth look at his artistic process and the personal significance of his stories.
Carle has inspired children to fall in love with books. While his stories are often lighthearted, they teach essential lessons, too. As children read about animals, families, and fables, they also learn their colors, letters and numbers. Additional design elements—such as holes, flaps, and sounds—make reading accessible, multisensory and fun.
Twenty-three of Carle’s books are represented in the exhibition. Published in 1969, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was the second book that Carle wrote and illustrated himself. Fifty million copies have sold and the book has been translated into more than 60 languages. Like many of his other titles, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” reflects Carle’s lifelong interest in the natural world, an appreciation he learned from his father. The caterpillar’s story is also a metaphor for childhood and growing up.
This exhibition is the first celebrating a children’s book illustrator and, like Carle’s books, it is designed with kids in mind. In addition to English copies of the books, there will be Braille and foreign-language editions with an emphasis on the most common languages spoken and studied in Nashville such as French, Kurdish, Somali, and Spanish. An interactive family guide in English and Spanish offers both in-gallery and at-home learning activities as well as biographical information about Carle.
A short film showing Carle working in his studio provides insight into his innovative process, and a video of Carle reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” creates a virtual story time with the author.
For more information, visit www.fristartmuseum.org.
About the Frist Art Museum
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Art Museum offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. The Frist Art Museum’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Art Museum exhibitions. Information on accessibility can be found at FristArtMuseum.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and for members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students with ID, and $8 for active-duty and retired military. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5:00–9:00 p.m. Groups of 10 or more can receive discounts with advance reservations by calling 615-744-3247. The galleries, café, and gift shop are open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, 1-5:30 p.m., with the café opening at noon. For additional information, call 615.244.3340 or visit www.FristArtMuseum.org.
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Ellen Jones Pryor