Friday, June 19, 2009

Posada for Children

Though the Mexican engraver José Guadalupe Posada is best known for his topical broadsides and ghoulishly whimsical depictions of skeletons at play, he produced thousands of engravings, spanning a wide range of subject matter, in his forty-year career. The images here spotlight his work as an illustrator of inexpensive books for children.

The dog in the above image has some of the same anthropomorphic expressiveness of the dogs in Maurice Sendak's early work. Since Sendak is a notorious magpie -- I mean that as a compliment, naturally -- it's possible that he was familiar with the image or others like it. The proper Mexican couple below are quite fetching.

All of these pictures are from a delightful book published in 2005 by Editorial RM in Mexico City, Posada: Illustrator of Chapbooks by Mercurio López Casillas. (There's also a Spanish-language version, entitled José Guadalupe Posada: Ilustrador de Cuadernos Populares.) The compact little hardbound volume contains hundreds of color images, including interior art as well as covers, organized into three categories: Songbooks, Children's Books, and "Divers Manuals" (a miscellany, not books on diving).

A good jumping-off place on the web for the whole of Posada's work is this post at Bibliodyssey.

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