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img802The crossroads between France and Germany in the Alsace/Elzass Region is populated by a staunchly independent minded mix of people who cling to their customs and language, a mix between German and French.

Their typical buildings in the villages remind you of the Northern part of Switzerland, but also of the Saar and Baden in Germany. Great wines and superb local food make it my favorite region to vacation, towns like Colmar, rich in culture and laid back. It is one of the places where printing and learning were elevated to the greatest art, from the outset of the invention of printing. A great Humanist Library still exists intact in the town of Selestat. Kudos to Maaswater 15 for uploading a short tour on YouTube.

It is from this truly multicultural region, sandwiched between two great powers in history, that the artist Tomi Ungerer (1931-) hails. Author and illustrator of some superb children’s and sometimes, somewhat controversial, adult’s books. His books are translated in 28 languages and sometimes written in 3 languages. A bibliography of his work can be found here. The town of Strasbourg, France honored him with a museum in 2007 where a large collection of his own but also work by other illustrators can be found, as well as, some posters done by the artist. A poster design for the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick was however not selected for this film. (photo below from the museum site)

dr. strangelove posterMy favorite book of his, in our small but growing children’s book collection, is a book from 1974 titled Allumette. The illustrations for the cover (at the top of the post) back cover and endpapers are as close as you can come to an artist like Andy Warhol. The printing itself is done with such fine color that the whole book is a work of art, a true artist book, but printed for a larger readership. These are the type of collectible books that are increasingly hard to find in a nice to great condition.

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Endpaper

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Hardbound back cover

img805img806img807Tomi Ungerer’s life has been the subject of the movie Far Out Isn’t Far Enough which has been selected for the 2014 Producer’s Guild of America Award for a documentary motion picture. Below is a YouTube video of Ungerer explaining this movie in his own words.

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