Charles Santore, 84, kid-lit, TV Guide celeb cover illustrator
(too old to reply)
That Derek
2019-08-24 03:39:57 UTC

Charles Santore, 84, nationally known illustrator from South Philadelphia

by Bonnie L. Cook,
Updated: August 16, 2019

Charles Santore, 84, a nationally renowned artist from South Philadelphia best known for his TV Guide covers and colorful illustrations of children’s books and fairy tales, died Sunday, Aug. 11.

He was admitted to Pennsylvania Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and died six days later of unknown causes, his family said.

Born into an Italian-Irish family, Mr. Santore was a graduate of Bok Vocational High School and what is now the University of the Arts.

He began his career in 1956 working as a freelance illustrator for local advertising agencies and publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Redbook, and the Ladies’ Home Journal.

Starting in 1972, he illustrated magazine covers for TV Guide. His first cover, depicting Peter Falk as the shambling TV detective Columbo, brought him national acclaim.

Limited by the tiny space on the magazine cover, Mr. Santore had to take a minimalist approach to his subject. Columbo appears with ratty raincoat, but with no shoulders, Thomas Hine wrote in a March 28, 2018, Inquirer review of the artist’s retrospective show at the Woodmere Art Museum.

“The portrait is a distillation of a character, not a photograph,” Hine wrote. “It makes the Columbo character a little more ghostly.”

During the next 14 years, Mr. Santore, a friend of TV Guide publisher Walter Annenberg, produced scores of other cover illustrations. Among his subjects were Redd Foxx and The Godfather’actors Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro.

Many of the cover illustrations are on display at Woodmere Art Museum. The Redd Foxx cover is in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution.

“He was one of the very greatest artists of our city,” said William R. Valerio, Woodmere’s director and CEO. “It is a great loss.”

In 1986, Running Press asked Mr. Santore to illustrate Peter Rabbit & Other Cherished Stories by Beatrix Potter. Mr. Santore went to zoos to observe the animals he was to draw. The details in the drawings became part of the story’s emotional resonance.

“In his illustrations for children’s books, I don’t know a single artist that can bring you back to childhood in that way,” Valerio said.

In 1988, Mr. Santore illustrated Aesop’s Fables, and in 1991 he did a revisiting of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, both for Random House.

“In his children's books, Santore seems preoccupied with de-Disneying the imagery of childhood literature,” Hine wrote. “Though his style is detailed and maximalist like the Disney animators, he eschews the cute.”

Thus, in Mr. Santore’s version of “The Hare and the Tortoise,” the rabbit appears as an afterthought, with one leg not even in the drawing. The tortoise appears in full detail, surrounded by other animals.

His work with The Wizard of Oz was even more evocative. While the Cowardly Lion was seen in the movie as a man in a lion suit, Mr. Santore saw the character as a real lion. He demonstrated the creature’s fear by showing it jumping over a ravine with its eyes closed

In 1997, Mr. Santore produced an original illustrated book called William the Curious: Knight of the Water Lilies. In 2000, he produced another original book about a mouse that stowed away on Noah’s Ark. Both won national honors.

In 2003, Mr. Santore turned his attention to Colonial history by illustrating Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride: The Landlord’s Tale.

When he did the illustrations, he went to Lexington and Concord,” Valerio said. “He wanted to see those places for real so he could make illustrations to engage his viewers.”

In 2011, Mr. Santore took on a project to illustrate The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.

John Whalen, of Cider Mill Press, one of his publishers, said: "It was a true honor to be Charlie’s publisher. I’ve never met any other illustrator quite like him. His dedication to research was unparalleled.”

The setting for the book was a historical house in Flourtown dating to 1823, the year the poem was published. The architecture, wallpaper, furniture, clothing, and holiday decorations were true to that time. The book topped the 2012 New York Times Best Seller

In addition to his work as an artist, Mr. Santore was a worldwide expert on Windsor chairs. He consulted for auction houses on a regular basis and was considered an expert on American antiques, Valerio said.

Mr. Santore was married to Olenka Santore, who died April 11. He is survived by children Christina, Charles, and Nicholas Santore; three grandchildren; and two brothers.

Plans for a life celebration were pending. Burial will be private.

Posted: August 16, 2019 - 6:37 PM
2019-08-24 15:01:06 UTC
He also illustrated "The Wizard of Oz, 100th Anniversary Edition" (2000).


Second half:

...Santore went on to reimagine classic texts with his dramatic images in such titles as The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Jelly Bean, 1991) and Paul Revere’s Ride: The Landlord’s Tale (HarperCollins, 2003) as well as works by Aesop and the Brothers Grimm. In addition to illustrating well-known favorite tales, Santore wrote several picture book texts of his own, including William the Curious: King of the Water Lilies (Random House, 1997) and The Silk Princess (Random House, 2007). Over the course of his career, Santore produced more than a dozen titles for children. His newest picture book, Jabberwocky, is slated for the Running Press Kids spring 2020 list.

In a 2015 interview with Peter Crimmins for WHYY public radio in Philadelphia, Santore reflected on the care and time he put into his illustrations for a new edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures Underground (the title of Carroll’s original manuscript for what became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), published by Cider Mill Press that same year. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” Santore told Crimmins. “If I’m going to spend two, three years on a project, I want it to be the way it should be so I have no apologies. A book is around for a long time. The worst feeling in the world is to look at a book and say, ‘If only I had more time.’ ”

Among the accolades for his art, Santore received the Hamilton King Award and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal in 2000 for A Stowaway on Noah’s Ark (Random House), and some of his pieces are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa.

Running Press Kids creative director Frances Soo Ping Chow, who worked with Santore for more than a decade, offered this appreciation: “Charlie Santore was an artistic treasure in the industry. He created worlds that were familiar but elevated them beyond the scope of our imagination. Each extensively researched and composed illustration was created with an eye to detail that was uniquely his. His lighting, reminiscent of Maxfield Parrish, enveloped colorful characters with lush atmospheres to create stunningly beautiful landscapes. Charlie will be greatly missed by everyone who had the honor of working with him.”

(multiple obits, including one from the New York Times)

(five Kirkus reviews)

(reader reviews - the most popular book seems to be "The Little Mermaid" - the original story with the sad ending, of course)

(birthday post from 2015)

Most of it:

From Wikipedia:

"His work is on display permanently at the Brandywine River Museum (Chadds
Ford, Pennsylvania) and the Museum of Modern Art (NYC)."


(pictures from Snow White, Wizard of Oz, Little Mermaid)

(more pictures)

Excerpt from 2009 interview:

Q: What artists have inspired you? Are you often inspired by your
everyday surroundings or dreams?

A: I've been inspired by artists that worked from the very early
Renaissance till modern day. Several favorites include British
illustrator, John Waterhouse and from America, Edwin Austin Abbey,
Howard Pyle and N.C.Wyeth.

From 2013: "An Evening with Renowned Children's Book Illustrator Charles

(short filmography)

(24-minute video?)

(more videos - at this point, you have to go to the third page to get to the ones made while he was alive)

To my frustration, I can't seem to find a bibliography that is
guaranteed to be complete, but here's what it says in Amazon:

"Since 1986, Santore has added children's book illustration to his broad
body of work, including the following classics: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
and Other Cherished Stories, Aesop's Fables, The Wizard of Oz, The
Little Mermaid, Snow White, The Fox and the Rooster, Paul Revere's Ride;
the Landlord's Tale, The Camel's Lament, The Life and Adventures of
Santa Claus, The Night before Christmas and version of Jack and the
Beanstalk for limited Internet distribution. Santore most recently
illustrated Margery Williams Bianco's beloved The Velveteen Rabbit,
which, along with his versions of Aesop's Fables, The Night before
Christmas, The Wizard of Oz and his own William the Curious: Knight
of the Water Lilies, was selected by US retailer Kohl's for its seasonal
Kohl's Cares merchandise program supporting children's initiatives in
communities nationwide. In addition to William, Santore is also
author/illustrator of A Stowaway on Noah's Ark, Three Hungry Pigs and
the Wolf That Came to Dinner, and The Silk Princess."