Published: October 2, 2018
BOSTON -The beloved teddy bear at the center of Winnie-the-Pooh, first published in 1926 and translated into more than 50 languages, is one of the most famous children’s book characters of all time. In a playful and multisensory exhibition, “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic,” presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) through January 6, the history and universal appeal of the classic stories written by A.A. Milne (1882-1956) and illustrated by E.H. Shepard (1879-1976) is explored.
Nearly 200 works on view are drawn from the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), The Walt Disney Company, Egmont Publishing, the Shepard Trust, the University of Surrey and private collections. Original drawings, proofs and early editions, letters, photographs, cartoons, ceramics and fashion take visitors of all ages on a journey exploring how the stories of Pooh and his friends Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger and Christopher Robin have stood the test of time and continue to resonate with readers around the world.
Organized by V&A, London, “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” is on view in the Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery.
“This exhibition is a wonderful combination of the ‘real’ and the ‘imagined,’ and I hope it helps every visitor reconnect with the original stories – true classics that are worthy of revisiting,” said Meghan Melvin, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf curator of design.
“Exploring a Classic” reveals the real people, relationships and inspirations behind the charismatic bear and his world, representing friendship, simple joys and the curious, yet gentle nature of a child’s imagination. The exhibit explores the thrilling interplay between text and illustration, shedding new light on the creative collaboration between Milne and Shepard.
Children and adults are invited to explore set pieces inspired by Shepard’s art and enjoy video and audio, including a 1929 recording of Milne reading Winnie-the-Pooh. In addition to a slide and foot bridge for families to play on, children can go inside Pooh’s home and the childhood bedroom of Milne’s son Christopher – the primary inspiration for Christopher Robin. Young visitors are also encouraged to explore their own creativity, with various spaces to play games, draw and read in the gallery.
Highlights of the works in “Winnie-the-Pooh” include Shepard’s first Winnie-the-Pooh character portraits, drawn to resemble Christopher Milne’s real toys, and original sketches of the Hundred Acre Wood; more than 80 of Shepard’s original pencil/pen-and-ink drawings for the four Winnie-the-Pooh books, including some of the best-known illustrations; replicas of Christopher Milne’s stuffed animals; memorabilia from 90 years of Winnie-the-Pooh history, including plush toys from about 1930, a Winnie-the-Pooh Lego set and a print from the Winnie-the-Pooh satire Wookie the Chew; a handwritten 1926 letter from Milne to Shepard and photographs of the Milne family. A myriad of programs, tours and talks accompany this exhibition; see the MFA website for further information.
MFA is on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue. For additional information, www.mfa.org or 617-267-9300.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm