June 7,  2013



On Saturday, June 29, 2013, the National Museum of American Illustration will host a book signing by acclaimed illustrator, educator, and author Mary Jane Begin, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The book signing coincides with an inaugural exhibition of Mary Jane's original illustrations from the newly released My Little Pony book, titled Under the Sparkling Sea.

Mary Jane Begin has twenty-five years of experience as a professional illustrator and notable faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2008, she was the first living illustrator to have an exhibition at the NMAI. On that occasion (see picture at right), her featured artworks had been created for the 100th anniversary edition of the beloved children's book classic by Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in The Willows, and a Willow Buds prequel series she wrote and illustrated, titled Willow Buds. Also exhibited were books illustrated by Mary Jane  such as R is for Rhode Island Red, a retelling of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, A Mouse Told His Mother, and others.


Doubtlessly based upon an impeccable story-telling ability and extraordinary artistic skills demonstrated in her previous works, Mary Jane was selected by Hasbro toys to write and illustrate My Little Pony. The book Under the Sparkling Sea, as the title suggests, is a My Little Pony story with an aquatic theme. Mary Jane does an inimitable job of portraying characters from that well known children's franchise in a setting not commonly associated with ponies. Her bold and intense use of colors in the underwater environment and nuanced depictions of the facial expressions convey the characters' wonderment at the strange and new world they experience. It is a superlative effort, already well received, and is now acknowledged at the NMAI as  "a great new classic of children's literature."

Additionally, NMAI offers 3 concurrent exhibitions:    

1). The American Muse focuses on the illustrative works of Charles Dana Gibson, Harrison Fisher, Howard Chandler Christy, Walter Granville Smith, James Montgomery Flagg, Albert Beck Wenzell, and others of their colleagues each demonstrating a particular notion of classical female American beauty. Their various popular depictions or interpretations of late 19th and early 20th century beautiful American women include the Gibson Girl, the Christy Girl, the Fisher Girl, Liberty Belles, and many other notable works of that era.

2). Maxfield Parrish: The Retrospective continues due to great popular demand, with works from the Edith Wharton book, Italian Villas and their Gardens, various Edison Mazda works, and other examples from each phase of Parrish's oeuvre. NMAI has in its permanent American Imagist Collection the largest Maxfield Parrish Collection of original artworks extant, including the famous Florentine Fete murals..

3). Howard Pyle and His Brandywine Students features works by Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, and others of the Brandywine School.

Throughout the NMAI are highlights from our American Imagist Collection. Also enjoy Vernon Court, our Gilded Age mansion, and its unique architectural features, period furnishings, and the American Imagist Sculpture Collection.




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The National Museum of American Illustration is a nonprofit, independent, educational and aesthetic organization. It is located in Newport, RI, on Bellevue Avenue at Vernon Court (1898), a Carrére and Hastings designed Beaux-Arts adaptation of an 18th century French chateau. It is the first national museum devoted exclusively to American illustration art. Illustration consists of original artwork created to be reproduced in books, magazines, newspapers, and advertisements. 'Golden Age' paintings by such luminaries as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, JC Leyendecker, and 150 others are displayed in 'Gilded Age' architecture, creating a unique union of architecture and art - a national treasure. The Museum is administered by the American Civilization Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal to present the best possible venue for appreciating the greatest collection of illustration art - the most American of American art.


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