Maira Kalman is an artist who effortlessly embodies whimsy and gravitas. Known for her children’s books and New Yorker covers, of late she’s been painting up a storm with beloved children’s author Lemony Snicket, also known as Daniel Handler. In May 2014 the pair published the book Girls Standing on Lawns, a collection of Kalman’s paintings based on old photographs, with text by Handler.
Kalman has collected random old photographs for years; even so, it was something of a surprise to realize she had quite a large set of girls standing on lawns. “There was something really appealing about them, poignant and funny and universal and particular,” she told me, saying she wanted to emphasize the girls’ tenderness and boldness in her paintings. They “represent a time for me when I was really self-confident, as a young girl, before you become an adolescent and lose all hope,” she said. “As a girl, you feel often that things are okay, really fantastic, and you own the world — and then you think, ‘oh, I’m not good at math,’ or something, and it all comes crashing down.”
As part of the book’s release, Kalman’s paintings were on show at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York. Here, take a look at nine images from the exhibition.
All images courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery.