Beloved Children's Book Artists Shows Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle
TACOMA, WA – For the first time, Eric Carle’s fans on the West Coast will have a chance to see the remarkable variety of paintings, sculptures, and personal sketches that the artist has been making privately for years. Best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and more than 70 other picture books, Carle has created a significant and varied body of artwork that was never intended for book publication. Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle will open in two galleries at Tacoma Art Museum on April 6 and run through July 7, 2013. 

“We are delighted to share the other side of Eric’s artistic life – his private artwork,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “This exhibition reveals the full range of Eric’s talents and imagination, his influences, and his experimental nature giving us all a chance to better understand the man who has been one of the most influential and beloved creators of our age.”

Starting with his career as a poster artist in the 1940s and carrying through to the street photographs he is shooting today, the exhibition provides viewers a chance to see what Eric Carle himself calls his “ArtArt.” The exhibition will be organized into groups, including early posters and book jackets; linoleum cuts; caricature notes (funny and irreverent hand-drawn notes written to friends and colleagues); and abstract collages. 

The exhibition will also highlight Carle’s forays into three-dimensional realms, including metal sculptures and painted glass assemblages created in cooperation with his friend, the renowned glass artist Tom Patti, as well as costumes and set designs for The Magic Flute, a semi-staged opera performed by The Springfield Symphony in 2001. 

Eric Carle is also creating a large mural (14 x 20 feet) specifically for the exhibition in Tacoma. The mural will be painted on Tyvek and is inspired by four large murals on permanent display at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

One of the galleries will focus mostly on Carle’s picture book art that so many are familiar with, and will include images from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. The gallery will include a video about Carle’s work and interactive art activities for children of all ages.

An audio guide will also be available for Beyond Books to help viewers gain a clearer understanding of Carle’s artistic process, influences, and inspirations.

Tacoma Art Museum hosted an exhibition of the artist’s children’s books illustrations, The Art of Eric Carle, in 2006. Beyond Books is an exciting journey not only into his well-known works but into his artistic vision that reaches beyond the printed page.

“Art [unlike publishing] is just me. I’m the only one that sets limits or none at all,” said Carle.

Related Programs and Events:
  • Beyond Books: A Conversation with Eric Carle - Sunday, April 7, 1 pm at Philip Hall, UW Tacoma, Book signing to follow at Tacoma Art Museum, 3 pm: Tacoma Art Museum invites you to a conversation with renowned author, illustrator, and fine artist Eric Carle as he discusses the remarkable variety of paintings, sculptures, and sketches he has been making privately for years. The event at Philip Hall will be followed by a chance to meet the artist at a book signing at Tacoma Art Museum. Cost: $20 ($15 for members, $10 for students); includes museum admission. Space is limited, so make your reservations early! Presented in partnership with University of Washington Tacoma. Click here for tickets.
  • The “ArtArt” of Eric Carle with Museum Director Stephanie A. Stebich - Wednesday, April 10, 10:30 am: Better known for his children’s books, Eric Carle has also been creating a remarkable variety of fine art—what he calls his “ArtArt.” Join Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie A. Stebich to learn more about the independent art of this beloved author, illustrator, and artist. Cost: Free with museum admission.
  • Books and Beyond: The Art of Collage - Saturday, June 29, 10 am–1 pm: Explore Eric Carle’s work and create a colorful painting collage inspired by his art that goes beyond his books. Cost: $35 ($25 for members) covers one adult with or without child. Cost of admission for each additional child is $10. Teachers can earn up three clock hours by attending the workshop. Pre-registration is required. Click here for tickets.

Beyond Books: The Independent Art of Eric Carle is organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, in cooperation with Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibition is generously sponsored by ArtsFund. Additional support provided by Helen and Peter Bing.

For press images, interviews, or more information, contact Lisa Terry at
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ADMISSION – Adult $9, Student/Military/Senior (65+) $8, Family $25 (2 adults and up to 4 children under 18). Children 5 and under free. Third Thursdays free from 5-8 pm. Members always free.