Fantagraphics Books launches an exciting series of events celebrating its 40th anniversary with “R. Crumb: Early Works, 1965 – 1967,” opening Saturday, September 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. This important exhibition features over thirty previously unseen original drawings and arcane artifacts, which demonstrate the development of the artist’s signature style. The show remains on view through November 2, 2016.
Robert Crumb is widely considered America’s greatest living cartoonist. His work was recently featured in the Seattle Museum’s “Graphic Masters” exhibition alongside Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogarth, and Picasso. The seminal work on display at the bookstore spans a period that found the artist in Cleveland and Chicago, through his arrival in San Francisco, where he became a founding member of the Underground Comix movement. Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books has comprehensively documented the work of R. Crumb with the 17-volume Complete Crumb Comics, 10-volume R. Crumb Sketchbook, 6-volume Complete Zap Comix, and collections of his memorable characters Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, among other publications. “R. Crumb: Early Works, 1965 – 1967” represents an ongoing effort to preserve the history of the comix medium and provides a fitting start to Fantagraphics’ 40th anniversary festivities. The expatriate artist resides in France and will not attend the exhibition opening.
The exquisite work in this exhibition was created by Crumb for the benefit of the late Alix Gianasi. Her sister Mimi recalls, “We first met Robert Crumb in Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid-1960s. I understood at the time that he had recently moved there from Pennsylvania. When we met he was working at the American Greeting Card company. It was early days in the psychedelic revolution; the counter culture was just emerging. The crucible in Cleveland was the University Circle area and Robert fit right in. It was a scene of college kids, artists, musicians and poets. A tall, lanky young artist, wandering around with a sketchbook full of odd frogs and chubby teenybopper women was just the thing.” The drawings Crumb created for Alix reflect his evolving aesthetic that would soon alter the course American pop culture as his provocative comix became emblematic of the sixties counterculture.
The opening reception on Saturday, September 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM coincides with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring colorful contemporary art presentations throughout the historic arts community. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-658-0110.