ARTHUR RACKHAM (1867-1939) Original illustrations for Jack and the Beanstalk.
ARTHUR RACKHAM (1867-1939)
Original illustrations for Jack and the Beanstalk.
Pen and ink with watercolor on paper, border added for the 1913
publication. Signed: “Arthur Rackham”
19 3/4” x 15 1/8” sheet, 21 5/8” x 17 7/8” framed.
Born in London, Arthur Rackham took an interest in illustration early on. He studied at the Lambeth School of Art. He began working as an illustrator and reporter for The Westminster Budget in 1892, and by 1893, he was already finding work illustrating books. Arthur Rackham illustrated over ninety books in his lifetime, primarily classics and fairy tales. In his illustrations, Rackham sought to combine elements from works by Northern Renaissance artists he revered like Albrecht Dürer and Albrecht Altdorfer as well as popular contemporary motifs like that of the Art Nouveau movement.
This illustration, done for the 1903 publication of Jack and the Beanstalk, is one of his most famous and recognizable works. The axe Jack used to chop down the beanstalk is sent flying through the air as the ogre tumbles down from his
kingdom, feet first. The decorative frame, added by Rackham ten years after he originally executed the illustration, breathes the beanstalk motif and echoes the illustrations of Alphonse Mucha as well as the architecture of Antonio Gaudi. A touch of whimsy is added by the two heads conversing at the lower right. The perspective Rackham has chosen is also visually appealing; as well as seeing only the limbs of the giant, the viewer is given just a small glimpse of the actual beanstalk, at the proper left of the giant.
Among his other famous book illustrations are Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1900), Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906), Alice in Wonderland (1907) and The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (1917).
He won awards at expositions in Milan and Barcelona in his lifetime, and his imaginative works were even exhibited at
the Louvre in 1914.