Grimms’ Fairy Tales
A Special Visual Edition of Grimms’ Tales
The legacy of the Grimms’ tales are tied to their rich history of illustration. A third Brother Grimm, Ludwig Emil, provided pictures for early German editions and the British artist George Cruikshank ensured that the first English edition of the tales became a well-loved best seller.
For this special collection of 25 of these stories, we combed through more than 300 old books on a quest for vintage images to collage into Mirror Mirrored. In the process, we fell under the spell of some remarkably diverse wolves, dwarfs, and wicked stepmothers, everything from gilded Art Nouveau masterpieces, to simple line drawings, to exquisite illustrations by obscure, unknown artists.
The resulting collages, where Corwin Levi takes illustrations for a particular story and remixes them throughout that same story, are visual compendiums of the history of fairy tale illustration that stretch across time and space. A collage may combine two striking vintage images, or it may be comprised of dozens of depictions from various sources. (You can see an example of a Rapunzel collage coming together in the animated gif on this page.)
…and the Future
But these stories are not just archival curisoities, they still feel fresh and breathe life into their audiences. And so we invited contemporary artists to contribute their own pictures to these stories and offer a lens through which readers today can appreciate these tales in their lives. We hope, by combining these timeless stories with a new generation of artists, to create a book that will be treasured and passed down from the readers to their children and grandchildren, just as the Grimms’ tales have been passed down through the generations.
To that end, MacArthur Fellows Carrie Mae Weems and Anna Schuleit Haber give insightful perspectives on “Snow White” and “The Story of Schlauraffenland,” artist Kiki Smith, one of Time‘s 100 People Who Shape Our World, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer DJ Spooky both provide fresh takes on “Little Red Riding Hood,” Guggenheim Award winner Lothar Osterburg reimagines Maid Maleen’s tower, and Turner Prize Nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE offers an iconic image for “The Ditmarsch Tall Tale.” Additionally, 23 other established and emerging artists have contributed artworks for our readers to marvel over and we are especially lucky to have an introduction to this new Grimms’ collection penned by Booker short-listed and New York Times bestselling writer Karen Joy Fowler. As writer Michael Chabon observed, “No contemporary writer creates characters more appealing, or examines them with greater acuity and forgiveness, than she does.”
The Contemporary Artists
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