Monday, February 23, 2009

Jan Balet (1913-2009)

Sad news from Jan Balet's children that Jan passed away on Saturday, January 31st. As many of you will remember, Jan was in the hospital after a fall. He had sent a note by way of his children, Peter and Marie, expressing his enthusiasm to correspond about his career and planned to write again after his recovery. Unfortunately that recovery never came.

Just two weeks before Jan passed away, I discovered a copy of his first children's book, Amos and the Moon, in a dusty old used bookstore an hour's drive from here. It was published 61 years ago, when Jan was just 35. In all my years of searching I've never come across any Jan Balet children's books, and this one is apparently quite rare.

A long, successful and varied career lay ahead of Jan Balet in 1948. I was looking forward to hearing all about it from him and sharing those details with you in another series of posts. I'm sure you are as sorry as I am that that won't happen now.

Without further comment from me, I'd like to honour the memory of Jan Balet by presenting images from Amos and the Moon each day this week. Marie sent a copy of Jan's obituary, which I will post at the conclusion of the story on Friday. My condolences to Jan Balet's family and friends.


  1. Oh, this is sad news, Leif. Thank you for letting us know. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jan's family & loved ones.

    Here are some images from another children's book that Jan illustrated from 1953: The Lazy Lion.

    And a fantastic cover he did for Better Homes & Garden in 1958.

  2. My condolences to Jan's loved ones. Thank you, Leif and Ward for sharing Jan's truly inspirational work here.

  3. Anonymous11:34 PM

    An honest-to-goodness illustration great. Sad, sad news. I'd been concerned about his health ever since learning of his troubles.

    To Mr. Balet's family - my true, heartfelt condolences. His pictures continue to bring us great joy. What a wonderful legacy he has left!

  4. Anonymous12:12 AM

    I just bought a copy of "By the Sea, By the Sea" and discovered this word of his death in researching the artist. Sad news.

  5. Anonymous6:30 PM

    What sad news - I have many fond memories of him, and several books and prints.
    Renata F.

  6. Anonymous3:19 AM

    Very sad news - we knew him well for years during his stay in this wonderful small house in Munich, in France and Swizerland and still enjoy his paintings and graphics in our home.