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"Jugendstil Picture Book Artists and Their Contemporaries" is a record of the forms of expression of picture book illustrators in different parts of Europe when human society was in the throes of many changes that began in the mid-nineteenth century. The changes extended into every aspect of life, from technology, science, religion, and ethics to economics and the structure of society. The shared themes and styles of expression of the artists who went beyond words to visually express a "story"–that peculiarly human form of the transmission of the spirit–provide the material for contemplating the nature of the human spirit and art.
For a better appreciation of the background of the times that produced these works, we hope you will look at the "Commentary" pages. Of the many precious works in this genre, many could not be included because permission to reproduce them could not be obtained or the condition of the books was too poor. Eleven books from eight countries are displayed here, all books produced by leading picture book illustrators from the late-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries that were popular among children in different parts of Europe. This was the first golden age of the picture book, a time when illustrators took special pride in the quality of their work even in a time of epochal change.
The International Library of Children's Literature / National Diet Library