Ezra Jack Keats
Barbara McClintock - Original Illustration

Ezra Jack Keats (March 11, 1916 – May 6, 1983) , Caldecott-winning author of The Snowy Day, was one of the giants of 20th Century children's literature. Perhaps only Maurice Sendak has had as great an influence on picture book illustration. Keats is best known for introducing multiculturalism into mainstream American children's literature. He was one of the first children’s book authors to use an urban setting for his stories and he developed the use of collage as a medium for illustration.*

The original artwork for Keats’ picture books are all housed at the De Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. But throughout his life Ezra remained a fine artist as well as an illustrator.

The Land of Play

15.5" x 15"
mixed media on board

Archival Giclee Print :
12.5" x 12"
Edition of 250 | $350

Peter, the African-American child portrayed in The Snowy Day would go on to appear in six more books, growing from a small boy in The Snowy Day to adolescence in Pet Show.

For the first time, in conjunction with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation we are offering a limited edition print of Peter, reading and dreaming, as his imagination takes him to The Land of Play.

The Land of Play is an illustration by Ezra Jack Keats of the poem below by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Little Land
When at home alone I sit
And am very tired of it,
I have just to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies−
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play;
 — Robert Louis Stevenson

All Sorts of Birds Fluttering & Twittering & Cooing
from Jennie's Hat
8.5" x 18.25"
Archival Giclee Print
Edition of 250 | $350

One Winter Morning Peter Woke Up
from The Snowy Day
8.5" x 18.25"
Archival Giclee Print
Edition of 250 | $350

What's Your Pet's Name?
from Pet Show!
8.5" x 18.25"
Archival Giclee Print
Edition of 250 | $350

*Figure to the right is a self portrait of Ezra


Below is a selection of early drawings and sketches by Keats, some of which were studies completed as early as 1949 during his time in Paris, at a time before he started making picture books.

Country Road
15" x 22"
watercolor on Paper

Café Boulevard Raspail
24" x 17"
watercolor on paper

Painting Paris
12" x 18"
watercolor on paper

9" x 12"
pen and ink on paper

Landscape Pathway
8" x 8"
pen and ink on paper

Food Vendor
12" x 8.75"
pen and ink on paper

Portrait of Woman
24" x 18"
pastel on paper
Please contact the gallery about pricing or for more information.

A Personal Note about Ezra Jack Keats by Richard Michelson

I was born into a Brooklyn neighborhood that was 95% Jewish but within 10 years it was 95% black so I developed a lifelong interest in racial issues. Because I was Jewish and had black protagonists in some of my books, folks kept asking me if Keats had been an influence. So I thought I’d best check him out. I was blown away and became a fervent enthusiast (I think his book Goggles is a masterpiece of the picture book form). Of course I wanted to know everything about this man, and I soon discovered he grew up in the same neighborhood as I did—just a few blocks away, and he attended the same high school as did both of my parents.

Keats’ quickly became my guiding light, and he was consciously in my mind while I was writing Busing Brewster, which amazingly was illustrated by RG Roth in a collage style reminiscent of Keats’ work, though RG and I did not discuss this influence. I was never happier with a review than when the NY Times praised my book and compared it to the work of Ezra Jack Keats.

Learn More

Author-illustrator Marisabina Russo reminisces about Jennie's Hat

The Ezra Jack Keats Film Festival




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