martin provensen

I know I have already posted this, but this time it is actually Alice’s birthday. Today Alice Provensen is 96 years old. I wish her a very happy birthday and a big thank you for all the amazing work she has done over the years. You can see details from this piece here on my website.

Tales from the Ballet. Selected and adapted by Louis Untermeyer. Illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1969.

“Ballets are stories with music but without words. The dancers express what is happening in pantomime, by movement and gesture. However, in telling these stories I have put words into the mouths of the characters.” So this marvelous, magical collection of ballet stories came to be.

Spotlight: Children’s Book Week

In our continuing celebration of Children’s Book Week 2016, we present the official 1957 Children’s Book Week poster designed by the noted American illustrators Alice and Martin Provensen from our collection of children’s book posters. The Wikipedia article on the Provensens has this to say:

[The Provensens] were an American couple who illustrated more than 40 children’s books together, 19 of which they also wrote and edited. According to Alice, “we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist.”

Their early lives were remarkably similar. Both were born in Chicago and both moved to California when they were twelve. Both received scholarships to the Art Institute of Chicago, and both attended the University of California, though at separate campuses. After college, Alice went to work with Walter Lantz Studio, the creators of Woody Woodpecker, and Martin took work with the rival Walt Disney Studio, where he collaborated on Dumbo, Fantasia, and Pinocchio.

They met in 1943, were married a year later, and seem to have lived happily ever after. Martin died in 1987, but apparently, Alice is still alive and illustrating in her late 90s.

Here is the design for this year’s poster.

View more posts on our children’s book posters.

Ballet illustration. Tales from the Ballet, selected by Louis Untermeyer (Golden Press, 1968). Illustration by Alice Provensen (American, born 1917 or 1918) and Martin Provensen (American, 1916–1987).

The Provensens were an American couple who illustrated more than 40 children’s books together, 19 of which they also wrote and edited. According to Alice, “we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist.”