The Romantic Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’s romantic drawings and paintings are much like the stag’s antlers in this work — propping us up and providing a sanctuary for our own courtships.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), known to his family and friends as “Ted,” was a romantic in many ways, often crafting paintings and drawings that tap into our ongoing quest and desire for romance. Here, a wistful stag allows a pair of woodpeckers to safely court atop his antlers. There is a sense of pride in providing such sanctuary for these lovebirds, although one can’t help but sense a longing for the stag’s own sweetheart, perhaps a doe named Emma?
Audrey was recounting her Valentine’s Day experiences with Ted when, as his biographers wrote: “He lavished sentimental notes and Cat in the Hat drawings on Audrey, with more elaborate ones appearing on Valentine’s Day and their anniversary.”
One anniversary had a particularly artistic bent for the couple. Ted was recovering from eye surgery and Audrey from a broken ankle. They had traveled to New York for a private tour of the Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. “We ought to blend right in at a Picasso show,” Ted had said. “A one-eyed man and a one-legged lady.” To further the point, on their plane ride from San Diego he made a drawing for Audrey in which she appeared as “Mrs. Picatso.”
The Thomas D. Murphy
The original Emma painting was included in a collection of work Dr. Seuss did for the Thomas D. Murphy Calendar Company, circa 1935. The image was used for the month of February as a creative link to Valentine’s Day.
The Murphy Company was not the first to approach Dr. Seuss to create images for a commercial calendar project. They were, however, the only people successful in getting him to produce two series of twelve paintings to be used in promotional calendar blotters. These fully-developed paintings were Ted’s largest color project at that point in his career. They mirrored the style, look, and feel of his art deco period, featuring works with heavy black backgrounds designed to visually force the central image forward. These rare works are a striking representation of Dr. Seuss’s playful back-and-forth movement between paintings he was doing privately for his own enjoyment and those done for commercial projects.
OTHER ROMANTIC WORKS FROM
THE ART OF DR. SEUSS COLLECTION
Emma joins an esteemed collection of sought-after romantic works from The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection, many of which have long sold out.