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The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

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These fabulous, whimsical paintings, created for his own pleasure and never shown to the public, show Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) in a whole new light. Depicting outlandish creatures in otherworldly settings, the paintings use a dazzling rainbow of hues not seen in the primary-color palette of his books for children, and exhibit a sophisticated and often quite unrestrained s These fabulous, whimsical paintings, created for his own pleasure and never shown to the public, show Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) in a whole new light. Depicting outlandish creatures in otherworldly settings, the paintings use a dazzling rainbow of hues not seen in the primary-color palette of his books for children, and exhibit a sophisticated and often quite unrestrained side of the artist. 65 color illustrations.


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These fabulous, whimsical paintings, created for his own pleasure and never shown to the public, show Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) in a whole new light. Depicting outlandish creatures in otherworldly settings, the paintings use a dazzling rainbow of hues not seen in the primary-color palette of his books for children, and exhibit a sophisticated and often quite unrestrained s These fabulous, whimsical paintings, created for his own pleasure and never shown to the public, show Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) in a whole new light. Depicting outlandish creatures in otherworldly settings, the paintings use a dazzling rainbow of hues not seen in the primary-color palette of his books for children, and exhibit a sophisticated and often quite unrestrained side of the artist. 65 color illustrations.

30 review for The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Dr. Seuss books are not ones I read as a kid, though I've loved them as an adult. This fun book is like visiting his private art gallery, only you can do so while still in your PJs. There are no words describing the art - other than titles, date, and media used - the art speaks for itself, and one could really spend hours looking at all the details he incorporated into his work. I've always loved the whimsical art of Dr. Seuss, and loved flipping through this collection of personal art. The man' Dr. Seuss books are not ones I read as a kid, though I've loved them as an adult. This fun book is like visiting his private art gallery, only you can do so while still in your PJs. There are no words describing the art - other than titles, date, and media used - the art speaks for itself, and one could really spend hours looking at all the details he incorporated into his work. I've always loved the whimsical art of Dr. Seuss, and loved flipping through this collection of personal art. The man's imagination is an inspiration to us all.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I love a good art book and I often pick them up from the library to browse through, but I've never reviewed one, simply because I just don't feel qualified! However, this one was so much fun and so different that I just had to share. If you are a fan of Dr. Seuss, you will love this simple picture book, filled will all sorts of strange delights! A few of my favorites: 1. Oh, I'd Love to Go to the Party, But I'm Absolutely Dead (p. 26) 2. There They Stood Exactly as They Were Created (p. 28) 3. Gosh! I love a good art book and I often pick them up from the library to browse through, but I've never reviewed one, simply because I just don't feel qualified! However, this one was so much fun and so different that I just had to share. If you are a fan of Dr. Seuss, you will love this simple picture book, filled will all sorts of strange delights! A few of my favorites: 1. Oh, I'd Love to Go to the Party, But I'm Absolutely Dead (p. 26) 2. There They Stood Exactly as They Were Created (p. 28) 3. Gosh!, Do I Look as Old as That! (p. 45) 4. Green Cat with Lights (p. 58) 5. Untitled (p. 86-87)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    No surprises here, although if you like Dr. Seuss' drawings then you'll probably enjoy this book. The bulk of his "secret art" looks exactly like his regular book illustrations, except in full color (rather than the color-added B&W pictures we're used to from his books). He also did a set of rather bizarre sculptures in 1934 that look like the hunted and mounted heads of some typical Seuss creatures, based around real animal horns and bird beaks. Things get a bit more interesting in the last thir No surprises here, although if you like Dr. Seuss' drawings then you'll probably enjoy this book. The bulk of his "secret art" looks exactly like his regular book illustrations, except in full color (rather than the color-added B&W pictures we're used to from his books). He also did a set of rather bizarre sculptures in 1934 that look like the hunted and mounted heads of some typical Seuss creatures, based around real animal horns and bird beaks. Things get a bit more interesting in the last third of this slim book (from roughly 1970 onwards), where his work takes on a slightly more abstract feel, and there are actually 3-4 paintings that aren't SUPER OBVIOUSLY Dr. Seuss and could in fact be the work of a lesser-known artist named Ted Geisel. Like much modern art, I find some of the titles as interesting as the paintings themselves, and so it's fun seeing pictures called Antlered Animal Adoring Pink-Tufted Small Beast, The Rather Odd Myopic Woman Riding Piggyback on One of Helen's Many Cats, A Man Who Has Made an Unwise Prochess (sic), and The Joyous Leaping of Uncanned Salmon. But if you really want to learn anything new and unexpected about the good doctor, I'd recommend you try Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel instead.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    I liked the foreword by Maurice Sendak. It was a touching insight into the private view of a man whose books brought him to the forefront of the public eye. He is described as "quiet, generous heart, and genius" with "simple modesty and curious privacy." The work included in the book was often painted after midnight for the sheer pleasure of creation and not for public viewing; which is good to know as this is not a book suitable for kids. The art ranges from delightful pieces set in Peru, to 'cl I liked the foreword by Maurice Sendak. It was a touching insight into the private view of a man whose books brought him to the forefront of the public eye. He is described as "quiet, generous heart, and genius" with "simple modesty and curious privacy." The work included in the book was often painted after midnight for the sheer pleasure of creation and not for public viewing; which is good to know as this is not a book suitable for kids. The art ranges from delightful pieces set in Peru, to 'classic Seuss' as per his children's books, to works of a far darker nature. Some of the darker pieces would give Freudian psychoanalysts a field day in terms of unresolved and conflicted feelings towards women (like the meatworks piece or the entrapment one). If these works were the majority then I would question continuing to read Seuss to my daughter; however, they are in the minority and perhaps they were experimental pieces. They were created in private and there is no opportunity for the author to discuss his intent. Many of the pieces carry with them a sense of fun; some (like 'the Steppes of Russia' or 'The Economic Situation Clarified' are on-the-button political satire; some are simply lovely, like the phoenix flying over the ocean.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    This is not an impressive book. It contains various plates of Dr. Suess and his art not related to the many children's books he wrote during his life. Some of the unique characters and definitely the illustration style on many of these paintings evoke the whimsey and fun he is known for, but unfortunately much of what is shown is just not that interesting. Nothing new is really shown here or learned by the reader so I'm at a loss as to what purpose this book really fills. Pass. This is not an impressive book. It contains various plates of Dr. Suess and his art not related to the many children's books he wrote during his life. Some of the unique characters and definitely the illustration style on many of these paintings evoke the whimsey and fun he is known for, but unfortunately much of what is shown is just not that interesting. Nothing new is really shown here or learned by the reader so I'm at a loss as to what purpose this book really fills. Pass.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aleta

    Gorgeous collection of Dr. Seuss's art. (I won't say "artwork", because he thought painting wasn't "work" and he'd therefore only do it at night.) I've long wanted this book, and my sweet nieces (with a bit of help from their mother) gave it to me for Christmas! Oh frabjous day! Callou, callay! Whoops, wrong work, but you get the idea. Gorgeous collection of Dr. Seuss's art. (I won't say "artwork", because he thought painting wasn't "work" and he'd therefore only do it at night.) I've long wanted this book, and my sweet nieces (with a bit of help from their mother) gave it to me for Christmas! Oh frabjous day! Callou, callay! Whoops, wrong work, but you get the idea.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    I love these surreal expressionist paintings. I especially love all of his surreal cats. In contrast to his political commentary cartoons, I love everything about these drawings and paintings.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kenya Starflight

    At this point I think it's exceptionally rare to meet someone who HASN'T heard of Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator who created dozens of weird but charming children's books (some with clever social and political commentary that kids won't get but adults will appreciate), as well as films, political cartoons, newspaper comics, and much more. It seems, however, that Theodor Geisel, the man behind the Dr. Seuss moniker, was a painter in his private life, creating pictures purely for his own pl At this point I think it's exceptionally rare to meet someone who HASN'T heard of Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator who created dozens of weird but charming children's books (some with clever social and political commentary that kids won't get but adults will appreciate), as well as films, political cartoons, newspaper comics, and much more. It seems, however, that Theodor Geisel, the man behind the Dr. Seuss moniker, was a painter in his private life, creating pictures purely for his own pleasure rather than to show or market to the world at large. This collection, while by no means comprehensive, gives us a glimpse at the "secret art" of this legendary creator, art that maintains his trademark style yet contains more depth, darkness, and strangeness than his children's work ever could. These pieces range from simple line drawings to boldly colored oil paintings to even strange combinations of sculpture and taxidermy. The subject matter is occasionally mundane, such as scenes of daily life in a South American village, but often far weirder than even the weirdest of his kids' books. There's religious allegory (one painting depicts his version of the Tower of Babel), self-depreciating self-portraits, and even some nudity (albeit nothing worse than you'd find in your average classical painting). And as evidenced by the cover, his perennial favorite -- cats -- show up with frequent regularity, including one painting that's nothing BUT cats! (In one of the two forewords, Geisel's widow talks about this painting, "A Plethora of Cats," and how it remained unfinished to his dying day because he could always find room to add just one more cat...) Aside from Ms. Geisel's foreword, there's also a touching introduction by Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are. It helps give a little context to Seuss' works (inasmuch as any of these paintings have context) and is a thoughtful send-off to a legend of children's literature. While certainly not for children or casual readers, "The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" is an eye-opening collection, and good for fans of Seuss' more obscure work or anyone who appreciates offbeat art in general. This is a look into another side of the creator of the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton the Elephant, and other beloved characters, and a quirky but fun collection of paintings.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is an amazingly fast read as there is very little text. I read the letter from his wife and the Intro which was by......bugger the book is downstairs and I have forgotten the artists name. Who did Where the Wild Things Are? Anyway it was a good intro as well. It gave some background to one of the paintings that is in the book and about Ted Giesel as well. There are many full page color images of artwork. Not just paintings and drawings but some sculpture as well. I never knew he did any scul This is an amazingly fast read as there is very little text. I read the letter from his wife and the Intro which was by......bugger the book is downstairs and I have forgotten the artists name. Who did Where the Wild Things Are? Anyway it was a good intro as well. It gave some background to one of the paintings that is in the book and about Ted Giesel as well. There are many full page color images of artwork. Not just paintings and drawings but some sculpture as well. I never knew he did any sculptures. Many of these were his private collection. As they are in chronological order you can see how much of his style was there right from the beginning and how it fully flushed out a little later. One or two have little things to them that are more for adults but nothing too bad that you could not let your kid see. I do wish it had more background though on each image. One is probably Horton but it is just marked as an elephant. Was it a study for the book? Looks like it could be but I don't know that one that well. All we get is the title, year and what each artwork is made of. Nothing else. Nothing. I found this a bit frustrating. Some of the images are so close to a particular book you wonder if they were studies or items that were intended for the book but got edited out later? No way of knowing. This is why I only gave it three stars. I would have loved to have given it 4. I used to work in an art museum. You would get more information on each of these paintings with the little card they hang next to an artwork telling about it than you get from this book. And I found that really, really sad for the fans of his artwork.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    A look at the array of artwork Dr. Seuss produced. I was surprised to see that along with paintings and drawings he also made sculptures. Admittedly I didn't like the sculptures as much because they utilized animal horns which just made me feel uncomfortable. The dimensions of each piece is included as is a list of the media used in its creation (I found this feature to be fascinating). I loved reading the inventive titles for his works, but was a little surprised/disappointed that some of the pa A look at the array of artwork Dr. Seuss produced. I was surprised to see that along with paintings and drawings he also made sculptures. Admittedly I didn't like the sculptures as much because they utilized animal horns which just made me feel uncomfortable. The dimensions of each piece is included as is a list of the media used in its creation (I found this feature to be fascinating). I loved reading the inventive titles for his works, but was a little surprised/disappointed that some of the paintings I had the strongest reactions to were left untitled. Favorites include: Self-Portrait of the Artist Worrying About his Next Book (white out is one of the medias used!), Joseph Katz and His Coat of Many Colors (vibrant colors that really appealed to me), Impractical Marshmallow-Toasting Device (I could look at this pieces for hours), Lion Stroll (the trees are amaaaaaaaaazing), The Joyous Leaping of Uncanned Salmon (the color and emotion of the subject really appeal to me, That Winter Spring Came Late (a painting that inspires a thousand stories in my head), and 2 untitled pieces near the end of the book that both feature waves (the waves are maybe my favorite waves ever real or imagined). Red flags: nudity, smoking, and the use of objects such as horns in his sculptures

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emmaline MacBeath

    This book is full of art by Dr. Seuss that you never saw in any of his books. There is a reason for this. Many of these pictures are PG-13 and not suitable for children's books. There are several cartoon nudes along with other strange wonders. If you are considering buying this to share with your children, I would reconsider. This art is for teens and adults who would like to appreciate another side to Dr. Seuss. There is no doubt that this art is creative and colorful and not a common style. I This book is full of art by Dr. Seuss that you never saw in any of his books. There is a reason for this. Many of these pictures are PG-13 and not suitable for children's books. There are several cartoon nudes along with other strange wonders. If you are considering buying this to share with your children, I would reconsider. This art is for teens and adults who would like to appreciate another side to Dr. Seuss. There is no doubt that this art is creative and colorful and not a common style. I enjoyed looking at this other art as I have a high appreciation for art of all types. And it is also interesting to see Dr. Seuss' quirky style and sense of humor. He most definitely did not look at the world with the same lens as the rest of the world. This book is also a little thin at 94 pages. I would have liked to see so much more from this amazing man who changed the world of children's literature.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Algernon

    Charming collection of paintings and sculptures that Dr. Seuss worked on in his free time from the 1920s, mostly in the 1960s and up to 1975. The book presents paintings in water colors and inks, some of them character studies of creatures that might populate his books, some delightful experiments with color and pattern, and several sculptures of fantastic creatures incorporating animal horn. A few even present absurdist dramatic situations such as a man contemplating a gigantic mousetrap baited Charming collection of paintings and sculptures that Dr. Seuss worked on in his free time from the 1920s, mostly in the 1960s and up to 1975. The book presents paintings in water colors and inks, some of them character studies of creatures that might populate his books, some delightful experiments with color and pattern, and several sculptures of fantastic creatures incorporating animal horn. A few even present absurdist dramatic situations such as a man contemplating a gigantic mousetrap baited with a nude woman. There is no back story to any of the works, simply pages of photographs of these entertaining works that hint at ambitious subject matter and technique, but remain playful. According to a brief note by his widow (now deceased herself), he created these works for his own amusement only, and an introduction by Maurice Sendak reiterates the point, recalling Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) being astonished and amused by any attempt to analyze his work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rel

    This is funny, interesting, and rather wonderful. And a curiosity to boot, naturally. I think this is a great art book for adults -- not that children wouldn't like or understand it, but that it is best understood by adults, to whom it is comprehensible even without context.. In addition to what are mostly clever, entertaining, aesthetically-pleasing paintings, there are also some of his sculptures of wacky fantastical mounted animals, which are delightful even on the page. I remember the first This is funny, interesting, and rather wonderful. And a curiosity to boot, naturally. I think this is a great art book for adults -- not that children wouldn't like or understand it, but that it is best understood by adults, to whom it is comprehensible even without context.. In addition to what are mostly clever, entertaining, aesthetically-pleasing paintings, there are also some of his sculptures of wacky fantastical mounted animals, which are delightful even on the page. I remember the first time I saw one (collected elsewhere, likely the internetz) and I immediately thought that I would like to own one. I bet a lot of people have that reaction. I like that this book is about as long as a Dr. Seuss book. I am glad the New Orleans Public Library has it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Nordstrom

    I picked this book up at the library just because the title sounded intriguing. And I've been on a Dr. Seuss reading jag recently. I starting reading this book, and three hours later, I put it down. This is a collection of artwork by Dr. Seuss. Pictures he would draw for his own entertainment, when he was working of his books. None of these have ever been released to the public before. And I loved ever one of them. These are funny to see, but you also just keep looking, and looking. Great stuff. N I picked this book up at the library just because the title sounded intriguing. And I've been on a Dr. Seuss reading jag recently. I starting reading this book, and three hours later, I put it down. This is a collection of artwork by Dr. Seuss. Pictures he would draw for his own entertainment, when he was working of his books. None of these have ever been released to the public before. And I loved ever one of them. These are funny to see, but you also just keep looking, and looking. Great stuff. Not within my power to describe them with words. Do a search on Google for "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss," click on "Images," and you will see them. Enjoy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kyla

    I loooooove this book! One of my all-time favorite coffee table books. If you think you've seen Dr. Seuss but haven't seen any of this work - well, you haven't seen Dr. Seuss! My favorites are: "An Alley Cat for a Very Long Alley" "A Man Who Has Made an Unwise Purchase" "Freebird" "Every Girl Should Have a Unicorn" This is must-see. I've been fortunate to see some of Theodor Seuss Geisel's originals in the UCSD collections. I loooooove this book! One of my all-time favorite coffee table books. If you think you've seen Dr. Seuss but haven't seen any of this work - well, you haven't seen Dr. Seuss! My favorites are: "An Alley Cat for a Very Long Alley" "A Man Who Has Made an Unwise Purchase" "Freebird" "Every Girl Should Have a Unicorn" This is must-see. I've been fortunate to see some of Theodor Seuss Geisel's originals in the UCSD collections.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    Dr. Seuss was quite an accomplished artist, which is obvious to anyone who has seen his brilliant illustrations. It's always been my opinion that his best books are the ones he illustrated himself. However, he was also quite a painter, particularly with watercolors. Brilliant, absurd, black & white along with color prints are collected here, works that Seuss would only allow a select few to see in his lifetime. Pure eye candy from one of the 20th century's geniuses. Dr. Seuss was quite an accomplished artist, which is obvious to anyone who has seen his brilliant illustrations. It's always been my opinion that his best books are the ones he illustrated himself. However, he was also quite a painter, particularly with watercolors. Brilliant, absurd, black & white along with color prints are collected here, works that Seuss would only allow a select few to see in his lifetime. Pure eye candy from one of the 20th century's geniuses.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Loved seeing Dr. Seuss’s paintings and artwork in other media. He was a creative genius for sure. I really liked the watercolor “Archbishop Katz” and the colorful oil on canvas “Venetian Cat-Singing Oh Solo Meow.” On the other hand, the pencil and watercolor “The Rather Odd Myopic Woman Riding Piggyback on one of Helen’s Many Cats” was way too weird for my liking! I also love the vivid colors and imagination in the very Seuss-like home depicted in oil on canvas “That Winter Spring Came Late.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    This was such a wonderful book, a real treasure of a find in the local library. With the trademark characteristics familiar to fans of Dr. Seuss, as well as some more 'adult' characteristics, this book contains some of pieces of art which are perhaps the best I have ever seen, and indeed, some of my new favorites. Loved, loved, LOVED! this book. This was such a wonderful book, a real treasure of a find in the local library. With the trademark characteristics familiar to fans of Dr. Seuss, as well as some more 'adult' characteristics, this book contains some of pieces of art which are perhaps the best I have ever seen, and indeed, some of my new favorites. Loved, loved, LOVED! this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Dr. Seuss is just one of the coolest children's author ever, and he's not a bad artist, either. Maybe not the best, but it is still fun to see his quirky work. Dr. Seuss is just one of the coolest children's author ever, and he's not a bad artist, either. Maybe not the best, but it is still fun to see his quirky work.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vashti Puls

    This is a cool book becaise Mr Geisel used to be both a Jouranlist and a political cartoonist. It also explains some of his political views. Fascinating. Also has some naked cartoons in it. Not for kids.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rob Dhillon

    As with Dr. Seuss in general, the art is amazing and conjures up the story visually. It has so much in it that echoes why I love art. One piece tells a whole story and, as with some artists, can tell different stories based on the different viewers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    Theodor Geisel was a very complex man; much more so than his children's books would lead you to believe. Recommended if you're interested in a more intimate and sometimes dark look into his mind and art. Some pics not for children! Theodor Geisel was a very complex man; much more so than his children's books would lead you to believe. Recommended if you're interested in a more intimate and sometimes dark look into his mind and art. Some pics not for children!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This surprising collection of quirky art work made me fall in love with Seuss as a grown-up. Proof that Seuss is not just for children. This one's not for the kiddies (rated PG-13; yep, Dr. Seuss & nudity do mix) This surprising collection of quirky art work made me fall in love with Seuss as a grown-up. Proof that Seuss is not just for children. This one's not for the kiddies (rated PG-13; yep, Dr. Seuss & nudity do mix)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cory B

    It was awesome. There were some really neat drawings in the book. I would not mind having a Dr Seuss print in my house someday. Warning, though, there are some nude drawings. A little weird, and unexpected, but other than that, it was a neat collection.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megankellie

    Delightful, with good introductions from Dr. Seuss's wife and Maurice Sendak. Enjoy random naked ladies popping up but still with good, delightful humor, like "Fooling Nobody": Delightful, with good introductions from Dr. Seuss's wife and Maurice Sendak. Enjoy random naked ladies popping up but still with good, delightful humor, like "Fooling Nobody":

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adrean Clark

    Theodore Geisel produced art outside of his more commercially-known art. This book is a quick appetizer of those works, but an appetizer is not a meal. Not much information is shared aside from the pictures and the titles -- other books may have more comprehensive collections.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kali

    The book itself is very nice, and has a lot of interesting art... but I think I prefer the whimsical artwork in Seuss's children's books to anything shown here. Some of the sculptures were downright disturbing, and I kinda wish I hadn't seen them. Heh. The book itself is very nice, and has a lot of interesting art... but I think I prefer the whimsical artwork in Seuss's children's books to anything shown here. Some of the sculptures were downright disturbing, and I kinda wish I hadn't seen them. Heh.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is the coolest book, including some interesting nudes. Dr. Seuss grows up, and you see a darker, more interesting side to who he is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    redcrayoncircle

    Great coffee table book for anyone that loves Dr Seuss and who would like to see his fine art side.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Anybody need an idea for what to buy me for Christmas??? ;)

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