Jerry Pinkney (1939-2021) had been illustrating children’s books since 1964. He produced over one hundred titles and was the first solo African-American to win the prestigious Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration. He also has five Caldecott Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, four Coretta Scott King Honors, five New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.
Pinkney was also a United States nominee for the 1997 Hans Christian Andersen Illustration Medal. The Society of Illustrators in New York presented him with four gold medals, four silver medals, the Hamilton King Award, and in 2006 their Original Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011 he was elected into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. In 2016 he won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for a substantial and lasting contribution to children’s literature as well as the Corretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for lifetime achievement. Mr. Pinkney was the first illustrator to be honored with a full-scale retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
On behalf of Rich Michelson and our entire gallery staff, we are saddened to share the news of our dear friend, Jerry Pinkney’s passing. Jerry was widely considered to be the greatest illustrator of our time, and while we were honored to show his art, it was his kindness and warmth that garnered him a special place within our gallery family. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and love are with Gloria and the entire Pinkney family.
On a personal note, Jerry and his wife Gloria were dear friends to me and Jennifer and we will always treasure that friendship. We are thankful for the many days the four of us spent together this past August touring Martha’s Vineyard. The legacy that Jerry leaves behind will live forever, both as an illustrator, and as proof that you can be a great artist and a kind and loving person.
Jerry Pinkney, Acclaimed Children’s Book Illustrator, Dies at 81 New York Times, October 21, 2021