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Illustration Art, The City, Lisl Weil, Vintage Drawing

$475

Lisl Weil (1911-2006)
Rowena Bastin Bennett (b. 1896) (poet)
The City
New York: c. 1940s
Pen and ink
Signed in image, upper left center: Lisl Weil
8.75 x 6 inches, drawing
10.75 x 7.5 inches, overall as pasted on supporting sheet
$475

Charming pen and ink original art by the prolific children’s book illustrator Lisl Weil, illustrating the poem The City, by Rowena Bennett. In the illustration, a boy and his dog stand in the street by a city park, looking at three tenement apartment buildings. Each building has a pair of windows on the top floor shaded like eyes — and their pediments and awnings resemble eyelids — to illustrate a line of the poem: “[The City] looks about with window-eyes.”

 

Description

The poem is added to the drawing as a typeset pastedown (as issued). The drawing in turn is pasted (as issued) to a supporting sheet providing margins with the width and numbered “87” noted in pencil. 87 might refer to a page number on which the poem was published. Indeed, a book of poetry by Bennett called The Day Is Dancing and Other Poems was published in 1948 and contains a poem called “The City” on page 88, though we have not verified from the book that this is the illustration there published.

The poem reads:

The City
By Rowena Bennett

Beside the park the city stands
With chimney-fingers on her hands.
She looks about with window-eyes
And breathes a black breath on the skies.

Lisl Weil was born in Vienna, Austria, where she attended art school and also performed for a time with a dance group. After spending a year in Holland, she moved to New York in 1939. She married Julius Marx, who encouraged her to illustrate children’s literature. By her own estimate, she illustrated over 100 children’s books from the 1950s through the 1990s. She also wrote the text for over half of them. Many were adapted from fairytales, folktales and myths, and often were lighthearted and whimsical. Weil also had an interesting sideline of performing children’s concerts with several major symphony orchestras, drawing the story on which the music was based on a huge easel as the orchestra played. In 1963 and 1964, she had a weekly television show called “Children’s Sketch Book.” Weil’s papers are in the collection of the McCain Library and Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Rowena Bastin Bennett was a children’s book author active from the 1930s to the 1960s, publishing numerous books of stories and poems.

Reference:

“Lisl Weil Papers.” University of Southern Mississippi de Grummond Collection. 3 June 2002. http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/html/research/findaids/weil,lisl.htm (2 October 2012).

“The Day Is Dancing: and Other Poems.” Google Books. http://books.google.com/books/about/The_day_is_dancing.html?id=jO8OAQAAMAAJ (2 October 2012).

Additional information

Century

20th Century