Portraits have long been a staple of Moser's oeuvre, beginning with his first book, The Red Rag, published by Castalia Press in 1970, which included a frontispiece portrait of the American painter (and author of The Red Rag), James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Nearly thirty years later he published his edition of the King James Bible, in which over half of the images were portraits. In this gathering are many of Moser's old portraits and more than fifty new ones created especially for this collection, including ...
Portraits have long been a staple of Moser's oeuvre, beginning with his first book, The Red Rag, published by Castalia Press in 1970, which included a frontispiece portrait of the American painter (and author of The Red Rag), James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Nearly thirty years later he published his edition of the King James Bible, in which over half of the images were portraits. In this gathering are many of Moser's old portraits and more than fifty new ones created especially for this collection, including Charles Dickens, Daniel Webster, Stephen Crane, Dante Alighieri, Frédéric Chopin, Nelson Algren, Jean Cocteau, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rembrandt van Rijn, Ben Shahn, Jim Harrison, Flannery O'Connor, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, William Blake, Eric Carle, Kaye Gibbons, Virginia Hamilton, Nancy Willard, Patricia MacLachlan, Jack Coughlin, Jane Yolen, Joyce Carol Oates, and many others. Ann Patchett, the recipient of the 2002 Pen Faulkner Award and Great Britain's prestigious Orange Award, contributes a splendid essay about Moser's portraits and the subject of portraiture in general. Moser has also penned a note about portraits that appears as an afterword.
"The portrait is, in my way of thinking, akin to a crystal goblet. I merely shape it and offer it to you. You fill it with what you know of that person, or of that person's work." Renowned for having illustrated over 200 books for children and adults, Moser, a member of the National Academy of Design, created a number of new engravings for this collection of portraits. Represented are poets (Keats, Wordsworth, Plath), authors (Mann, Twain, Carroll, Chekhov), composers (Handel, Wagner, Sibelius), activists (Douglass, Truth, King), and artists (Carle, Homer, van Rijn), as well as Moser's immediate family. In the brief afterword, he discusses the sources for his portraits, including subjects of whom no accurate depictions exist, like Chaucer. In those cases Moser utilized death masks , ancient photographs, and even busts. Printed on heavy matte paper, with spare titles including name, dates of birth and death, and occupation, One Hundred Portraits is a pleasure to study. The heavily detailed engravings result in portraits of very expressive faces, and giving readers, according to Ann Patchett, "the chance to visit the people we were sure of and learn something more." (Dec.)
Die-hard book fiends will immediately recognize artist Moser's exemplary work. He is the nation's leading book illustrator, working in watercolor, woodcuts, and wood engraving. His creations have a signature look as singular to his work as that of Picasso or Van Gogh. This handsome volume collects 100 of his illustrations, mostly focusing on contemporary and historical artists of different ilk, plus family and friends (even his dog). On the classics side, Moser includes portraits ranging from English gods like Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, Keats, and composer Handel to Americans Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, and Whitman. Jumping into the 20th century, he captures heavyweight writers like William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Eudora Welty, and Joyce Carol Oates as well as bluesmen "Blind" Willie Johnson and Bukka White. It's a varied and eclectic gallery. VERDICT Book lovers and those enamored of writers, artists, and musicians will thoroughly enjoy this unique and joyous collection.—Mike Rogers, Library Journal