Thursday, May 11, 2006

Aurelius Battaglia

Aurelius Battaglia has a couple of things in common with the likes of Maurice Sendak, The Provensens, Art Seiden and Gustaf Tenngren. All were among the most successful and inspired children's book illustrators of the mid-twentieth century and all were contributors to Field Enterprises' Childcraft textbook series.

TI list member Eric Sturdevant sent me this great link to some other examples of Battaglia's work on a site created by the artist's nephew. You'll be amazed at how different that work is from the pieces I'm showing you today.

As well, Ward Jenkins pointed me to a site put up by Marzia Cristina. Battaglia was her "grandmother's ( from mother side) cousin's son." On her site she provides this biographical info about the artist:

Aurelius Battaglia was born on January 16th in the 1910. He was the son of emigrants from Cefalù (Sicily), Giuseppe (Joseph) and Concetta (Mary) Battaglia, and he grew up in the city where he was born, Washington DC.

He graduated from the Corcoran Art School of Washington Dc., where he will work as a teacher.

In 1934 Public work of Art Project of Civil Works Administration commissioned him the murals of Mount Pleasant Library. He worked for Walt Disney studios from 1937 to 1941. In 1940 he drew Mickey Mouse. He was drawer and writer of Pinocchio (1940), drawer in and Dumbo (1941) and Fantasia ( he worked at the elephants' dance sequence).

During WWII he made some educational and training films for the Navy. After that he worked as theatrical charicaturist for the New York Tribune.

During the 50's he lives in Rhinebeck, on the river Hudson, not too far from New York. In 1955 he realized the film " The invisible moustache of Raoul Dufy" by Sidney Peterson.

From 1956 to 1957 he worked for UPA ( Gerald Mc Boing Boing Show).

He was illustrator of many children books published by Random House and Merrygold Press (NY).He also illustrated a book of American songs with arrangements by Norman Lloyd.

He spent the second half of his life in Provincetown (MA), a town of fishermen that in that period was full of artist who was coming from all the States.He moved there buying a house after he ahd visited the town in the '30 ies when he was a student and after he had spent there a winter in the 1947. He was a member of the Beachcomber club of Provincetown , where every Saturday night artists of the city met to drinking, eating and talking in the harbor area.

He died in Provincetown in 1984.

Today's images are best appreciated at full size and can be found in my Aurelius Battaglia Flickr set.

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