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Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books

February 1, 2022

On view April 15–August 7

Illustration of two children standing on top of a globe from which fly numerous objects and figures including a whale, a castle, a rocket, and a cheshire cat.

Oliver Jeffers (Irish, born 1977), World of Stories, Child of Books, 2016, mixed media, collage, gouache, pencil, and pen, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. © 2016 Oliver Jeffers.

Born in Australia and raised in Northern Ireland, Oliver Jeffers is an award-winning artist and author working in painting, bookmaking, illustration, collage, performance, and sculpture. This retrospective exhibition showcases nearly one hundred artworks from Jeffers’s picture books throughout his career. From the first sketches of How to Catch a Star to the alternate covers of Here We Are, the exhibition brings together never-before-seen original artworks alongside the familiar faces of Jeffers’s worlds. The exhibition will feature eighty line drawings, sketches, and finished illustrations for sixteen children’s picture books, including the wildly popular The Day the Crayons Quit and its sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home; Here We Are; The Incredible Book Eating Boy; This Moose Belongs to Me; and Once Upon an Alphabet.

“A lot of my art has been about duality and looking at things from two perspectives. I had a wonderful upbringing in Belfast. Yes, I saw some terrible things. Yes, I learned that people have an awful tendency to be mean to each other and inflict violence, but I also saw the capacity for love. I think I learned the importance of tolerance at an early age.”

—Oliver Jeffers 

Oliver Jeffers (Irish, born 1977), Stuck Print with Whale, pages 20–21, 2011, digital print, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. © 2011 Oliver Jeffers.

Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books is organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

Delta Air Lines

ACT Foundation, Inc.
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate
Harry Norman Realtors
wish Foundation

Robin and Hilton Howell

The Antinori Foundation
Corporate Environments
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Elizabeth and Chris Willett

Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Mrs. Peggy Foreman
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren

Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund