Ed Young


R. Michelson Galleries has had the privilege of showcasing Ed’s work for many years. We will be honoring Ed in our upcoming 34th Annual Children’s Illustration Celebration which will be on display in the gallery from the opening reception on November 12th until January 15th, 2024.  Here are some wonderful Tributes from the NY Times and Publishers Weekly.

Caldecott Medalist, and two-time Caldecott Honoree, Ed Young (1921-2023) illustrated over 90 books for children, 17 of which he also wrote. He was twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest international recognition given to children’s book authors and illustrators who have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. Young found inspiration for his work in the philosophy of Chinese painting. “A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words,” explained Young. “They are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe.”

Born in Tientsin, China, Ed Young grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art. Young began his career as a commercial artist in advertising and found himself looking for something more expansive, expressive, and timeless. He discovered all this, and more, in children’s books.

A personal note from Gallery owner, Richard Michelson

It was my pleasure to know Ed for over 15 years. He was a gentle, soft-spoken man, and he believed he was a conduit for a greater creative power. When I asked if we might showcase some work which I loved, but he was dissatisfied with, he explained that he no longer possessed that artwork, “it has been sent back to where it originated….art heaven.”

On his first visit to the gallery, he arrived empty handed. “Richard, I am impressed with your gallery full of masterpieces. I am yet to be convinced that I belong there.” This was after he had already won every major recognition an illustrator can hope for. I was thrilled when he finally emailed: “Richard, by your urging, I have unearthed in my drawer 44 pieces that may deserve attention from others… I do not hold too high an expectation, as that only brings disappointments. You may exhibit them if you think they are useful.”

Ed once said, “. . . my potential as an artist was subservient to my worth as a human being. To be truly successful, I needed to find a place where my work would also inspire others to fuller and happier lives.” My friend, you have inspired many to live fuller and happier lives!

-Richard Michelson