Just goes to show you, there's more than one way to lock in your spot in the history of children's book art. Possibly because he was afraid of getting shanked by revisionist children's book art historians in the aphid-friendly future, Eric Carle took precautions and built The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art while he could.
If only he lived in a country with a more centrally controlled Cultural Industrial Complex like, say, Holland, where the government underwrites all sorts of artistic endeavors in the name of promoting the National Culture. Then you might get a 5,000 sf museum paying tribute to your entire oeuvre, both the political posters you did in the Sixties as well as the featureless little bunny that has devoured the souls--and wallets-- of half the pre-schoolers in Japan [and every teenage girl].
Our ersatz blogging weekend in Amsterdam was a casualty of our family's flu, and so my sneak preview of the Dick Bruna Huis in Utrecht was a bust, but now that it's open to the public, there's plenty of giddy coverage to choose from. The museum apparently features kid-height exhibitions under the grown-up-level vitrines, and there's a book store and some limited edition artwork.
But from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be quite the critical distance that one might expect from a "museum." I mean, sure, Miffy's 50, but has she been consistently popular the whole time? Was there an awkward teenage stage or some stints in rehab or some unexplained exhibitionist tendencies? And seriously, if Miffy's 50 and Hello Kitty's only 30, where's the huge trademark infringement lawsuit? [Unsurprisingly, neither character is talking. But then, neither one has a mouth.]
I mean, why else would the Miffyganda juggernaut trot out quotes like this, the opening sentence from the Dick Bruna Huis press release published on the "Official Holland Site", if they didn't have something to hide?:
Following in the footsteps of the Dutch Masters Rembrandt van Rijn, Piet Mondrian and Vincent van Gogh, the world famous artist Dick Bruna is going to have his own museum. Within Holland’Äôs powerful, visual traditions of the 17th century, Dick Bruna has developed a powerful, visual style that has made him what he is today: A modern Dutch Master.Dude, Eric Carle is SO pissed right now.
Dick Bruna: a modern Dutch Master [holland.com]
Dick Bruna Huis [dickbrunahuis.nl]
Previously: Pervy Miffy