Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

April 15, 1994

Etienne Delessert Retrospective Opens May 9

On May 9, a fantasy-filled exhibition to delight the imaginations of both children and adults is coming to Washington, D.C. "Of Realism and Fantasy: Etienne Delessert: A Retrospective" will be on display in the Mumford Room Foyer of the Madison building of the Library of Congress through July 29.

Under the aegis of the Library's Children's Literature Center, the exhibit features more than 50 works spanning the career of Swiss graphic artist Etienne Delessert. For more than 30 years, Delessert has been enchanting audiences of all ages with his fantastical creatures and magical worlds.

Included in the current exhibition are paintings and works on paper as well as the original art created for many of Delessert's illustrations of children's books. Among his many collaborations was a fruitful partnership with the late playwright and storyteller Eugene Ionesco, which resulted in the books, "Story Number One" (1968) and "The Endless Party" (1980). In 1992, Delessert illustrated "I Hate to Read," with his wife, Rita Marshall. The 53-year-old artist has also written and illustrated his own books for children, including the award- winning "A Long Long Song" and "Ashes, Ashes."

Children are familiar with Delessert's animated film productions through the adventures of Yok-Yok as well as the special creations he has made for the ever-popular "Sesame Street."

His illustrations for adults appear in such leading periodicals as the New York Times, Fortune, and The Atlantic Monthly.

During a career in which Delessert has illustrated more than 50 books, the artist has received international acclaim and has won numerous awards, including two graphics prizes from the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna and four gold medals from the American Society of Illustrators. In 1975, Delessert was given a one-man retrospective by the Muse des Arts Decoratifs, in the Louvre.

Delessert's current exhibition originated at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and went to Lausanne, Paris, and Montreal before coming to America. It has already been seen in Birmingham and Philadelphia as well as several other U.S. cities, and will go to the Parsons Exhibition Center of the Parsons School of Design in New York City in November.

Today the artist lives in Lakeville, Connecticut, with his wife and young son.

The Etienne Delessert retrospective is funded by Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Foundation for the Arts. Hours for the exhibition are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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PR 94-064
ISSN 0731-3527

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