Tibor Gergely was born in Budapest, Hungary, and studied and taught in Vienna before the War. He escaped the Nazis and relocated to New York City in 1939, along with his wife. He became a well known illustrator, creating covers for the New Yorker and illustrating countless Little Golden Books. The subjects of his children’s books were often anthropomorphic automobiles, trucks, trains or boats. In his free time, Gergely was a fine artist, sketching and painting the city and small seaport towns in New England. In his own art, he was fascinated by bridges, in particular the Brooklyn Bridge. Perhaps the feeling of being planted with one foot in New York City and the other in his native Europe had something to do with that.
Here are two of Gergely’s earliest children’s books. On the surface, they appear very simple, but there is a great deal of thought in these compositions. Today, many children’s book illustrations are cluttered and packed with details. Gergely was at his core a storyteller, so he keeps the illustrations clear enough that even very young children can follow the story.
Many thanks to Terry and Linda for sharing these books with us.
This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.