Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Elegant kittens & more: Manny Schongut's children books

Illustration for a Saki (H. H. Munro) story in The Literary Catedited by J.C. Suares 
and Seymour Chwast. Published by the Push Pin Press in 1977.

Thanks to A Journey Round My Skull's beautiful book covers post and a tip from my lovely flickr friend
 art.crazed, I am very pleased to have discovered and to share the artwork of Emanuel (Manny) Schongut.
 Schongut is now a San Francisco resident but used to live in New York City, where he collaborated
 with the phenomenal Push Pin Studios and created illustrations for periodicals like The New York Times,
 New York Magazine and Harper's Bazaar.

Following is a selection of illustrations recently uploaded by Schongut in his flickr set dedicated to
 the numerous children's books (over twenty) he has worked on during his still productive editorial career.

from Stone Man, Stone House, written by Anne Merrick Epstein, 
illustrated and designed by Emanuel Schongut.
Published by Doubleday in 1972.

from Elidore and the Golden Ball, written by Georgess McHargue, illustrated by Emanuel Schongut.
Published by Dodd, Mead & Company in 1973.

I asked Schongut about the influence of late 19th century illustration on this book's beautifully
 outlined drawings, silhouettes and elegant compositions, and he kindly answered:

"You are correct about Elidore. I think Heath Robinson (not Charles, always preferred Heath),
 Rackham, a bit Beardsley, and Howard Pyle. I think Pogany as well, Kay Nielson, Dorothy Lathrop,
 maybe Rockwell Kent, and too many more! Jean de Bosschere, the wonderful Boutet De Monvel,
 and Maude and Miska Petersham have had some influence. As a child I had access to early elementary school
 readers inherited from an older sister. I still have them and more I have collected through the years,
 these may really be my roots. The illustrations in the color fairy books and Jessie Willcox Smith
 illustrations, Japanese prints, art nouveau, art deco, early Disney, early to mid 20th century magazine illustration.
 Although probably not obvious, Richard Lindner, who taught at Pratt Institute, had a strong influence.
 Later on when I worked on projects with Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast at New York Magazine
 and Pushpin studios, I suppose I could not help but absorb a bit there!"

What an impressive list of inspirations! And it includes at least five artists that I am not familiar
 with and definitely need to check out ASAP... thanks again, Mr. Schongut!

from The Lonely Skyscraper, written by Jenny Hawksworth, designed and illustrated by Emanuel Schongut.
Published by Methuen/Walker books, Doubleday, and Hachette in 1980.

from Five Kitten Board books (Look Kitten, Play Kitten, Wake Kitten, Catch Kitten)
illustrated, designed, and written by Emanuel Schongut. Published by Walker Books
 London in 1983. Co published in the U.S., France, and the Netherlands.

from Christmas Eve Blizzard, written by Andrea Vlahakis, illustrated by Emanuel Schongut.
Published by Sylvan Dell in 2005.

from Turtles In My Sandbox, written by Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated and designed 
by Emanuel Schongut. Published by Sylvan Dell in 2006.


  1. Wonderful post! I happen to know Manny Schongut and am a big fan of him as well as his work. You've put together some delightful art even I (I'm embarrassed to admit) hadn't seen yet. Oh those Walker Books kitties! Also enjoyed his answer to your great question about inspirations. Just lovely. Really enjoying your blog btw. Thanks!

  2. So great to see Manny's list of influences. Thanks for this post!


  3. So rich with nuance and a real feeling for the power of animals from cuddly to austere. Thanks for this collection and kudos to Mr. Schongut.



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