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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Symeon Shimin- Illustrator

I became a fan of Symeon Shimin's illustrations the first time I saw the lovely little parable he illustrated for Madeliene L'Engle called Dance in the Desert. I've always had a special fondness for night time illustrations done well, and the illustrations for this book were done very well indeed.

A very short bio of Shimin from the Children's Literature Resource page of the Kerlan Collection:

Symeon Shimin was born November 1, 1902, in Astrakhan, Russia, and came to the United States in 1912. Primarily self-taught as a artist, he studied for a short time at Cooper Union and traveled to France and Spain in the 1920s and early 30s to study the old masters and contemporary European artists. He began his long career as a painter and illustrator in the 1920s, and in 1950 illustrated his first children's book, How Big It IS, revised edition, written by Herman and Nina Schneider. Throughout his long career, he illustrated books for many different children's and young adult authors, including Margaret Wise Brown, Joseph Krumgold, Virginia Hamiltor, Byrd Baylor, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Madeleine L'Engle. He illustrated both fiction and non-fiction, including many books on animals, and preferred to work from live models to give his works realism and authenticity. Shimin died in 1984.

1 comment:

Sacks Susan said...

I knew Symeon very well as a child. I babysat for his youngest daughter and his wife was my mother's very close friend. I had the immense privilege of touring Paris with Symeon; he showed me where he had lived and the studios he had worked in. I am still in the city he loved so well.
As it happens, I was one of certainly many kids whom he used as a model for one of his wonderful illustrations ("Outdoor Wonderland" by Ruth Wilson). Sitting at the computer, that book is right next to me. Thanks to the modern web, I have had a pleasurable moment, learning that Symeon's work is still being published and appreciated.