GREENWICH, CT.- The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, presents approximately 40 framed, original cartoon artworks of Charles Addams, the beloved cartoonist of The New Yorker and creator of the characters known as the “The Addams Family.” The exhibition Charles Addams: Cartoonist, on view from October 3, 2009 through January 24, 2010, is organized for the Bruce Museum by the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. The show provides a sampling of the creative wit and sometimes macabre but always lovable humor of Addams’ oeuvre.
Charles Addams (1912-1988) had a happy childhood in suburban Westfield, New Jersey. But his curiosity sometimes drew him to a nearby graveyard and the hauntingly handsome and occasionally deserted Victorian homes in the neighborhood, one of which later became the model for the Addams' family home. After a few attempts at higher education at Colgate University, University of Pennsylvania, and the Grand Central School of Art in New York City, he signed on as a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker in 1935.
Addams developed a sophisticated style of humor, turning clichés on their heads by twisting preconceived definitions and putting them in a contemporary light. He once quipped in an interview that “If I’ve haunted you, I have done my job.”
Of the several thousand works produced by Addams in his lifetime, nearly 1500 were published in The New Yorker, as well as on the pages of newspapers within the McClure Syndicate, Collier’s, Holiday, TV Guide and numerous other publications. Some of his most popular characters were even spun off into a popular television series The Addams Family. His books of collected cartoons were best sellers.
The exhibition at the Bruce Museum features Addams’ original, large drawings focusing on several themes: The Addams Family, At Work, Holidays, New York City, Relationships, and No Explanation Necessary. The show also includes DVD excerpts from the original 1964-66 television series The Addams Family, based on the characters that Addams created: Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Cousin Itt, and the rest of the gang.
Exhibitions of Charles Addams’s work have been mounted at the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, MA, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New York Public Library, and the Museum of the City of New York. He was honored with the Yale Humor Award (1954) and a special award from the Mystery Writers of America. In his spare time he enjoyed collecting vintage automobiles and, ironically, died behind the wheel in 1988.
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