Friday, October 9, 2009

Seeing Lost New York with Miroslav Sasek

It's been a while since I wrote about Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves. This is the site where Scribbler, a young mom of a young child, posts summaries and scanned art from picture books she finds in thrift stores.

As usual, there are a lot of fun entries among her recent posts, but the one that captured my attention was from September 11, called This Is New York. It's a 1960 book by a writer/illustrator named Miroslav Sasek. The art is in that classic, mid-century style I love so much:

Illustration of small businesses with interesting signs, many passersby
The streetscapes and loving images of signs made me wonder if the anonymous writer of New York's Lost City blog knows about this book.

Illustration of a man dressed in white, making a pizza in a shop window
Scribbler's writing is great too. Explaining how she decided which book to post on such a momentous day, she explains how she feels about the city:

New York has this way of making you feel like you're one in a million. Blessed and lucky to have it loving you as much as you love it. These days for me, New York is the ultimate ex-boyfriend.
The images Scribbler showed made me wonder who Miroslav Sasek was, so I quickly found out that he was a Czech-born illustrator who lived from 1916 to 1980. He created a whole series of "This Is" books during the last quarter of his life -- Paris, London and Rome preceded New York, and it was followed by over a dozen others.

Sasek's work is commemorated on a website created by a fan and dedicated solely to him and his work. Yet another example of a shrine built on the interweb. I wish all the best illustrators had one!


Unemployed Dragon said...

Ah!! He did a lovely "This is San Francisco" book. I too love that mid century illustration technique.

David Steinlicht said...

Have you noted the "mid-century illustration technique" that Group Health has been using in its television and bus ads lately? I kinda like it.

Daughter Number Three said...

Yes, I did notice the Health Partners illustrations (using their current corporate name, rather than their original name Group Health). I like them, too, and wonder who the illustrator is. Although I prefer Sase's rougher style over the flat color style of the HP art.