The life of an artist is often filled with solitude. Those who share studio space enjoy an enviable companionship. But what must it be like when your studio-mate is also your life-mate? Alice and Martin Provensen may well be the most famous of such artist couples. "We were a true collaboration", says Alice Provensen, "Martin and I really were one artist."
By the time the Provensens produced these pieces for Field Enterprises' Childcraft series they had already been "one artist" for nearly two decades. Alice and Martin had met in 1943. Both had worked at rival animation studios - Martin, in the Disney story department (before the war) and Alice, at Walter (Woody Woodpecker) Lantz. One year later they were married and in 1945, they began their first children's book assignments, thanks to the assistance of their illustrator friend, Gustaf Tenggren.
Over the next 40 years the Provensens would produce over 40 books including a Caldecott Medal winner, The Glorious Flight. You can read about their careers and their life together in much greater detail here. The story of their lives is truly a powerful and moving love story.
Alice and Martin Provensen are among the most inspiring and influential illustrators of the 20th century, especially among animators and illustrators of childrens books and editorial work. Several Today's Inspiration list members have paid loving tribute to these great artists by scanning and uploading images so others may enjoy, learn from and be inspired by the Provensens' work. Steve Mack has a Provensen Flickr set here, Eric Sturdevant has many examples in his Old Children's Books set, and Ward Jenkins points us to a cool interactive site which makes use of the Provensens' Illiad and Odyssey art.
Today's images can be found at full size in my Alice and Martin Provensen Flickr set.