Notes from the Catalogue: Jane Breskin Zalben

Among the many well-known illustrators featured in our January 22 auction are a few artists whose work has never been seen at auction before. Award-winning artist Jane Breskin Zalben has produced picture books, chapter books, cook books and young adult novels. Among her most popular titles are An Invitation to the Butterfly Ball (1976), Jabberwocky (1977), The Walrus and the Carpenter (1986), Papa’s Latkes (1994), and Light (2007). The Mouseterpiece (2012) might be her masterpiece, a witty introduction to Modern Art through the eyes of an artistic little mouse. 

Lot 292: Jane Breskin Zalben, One, two! One, two! And through and through, the Vorpal Blade went Snicker-Snack!,” watercolor on parchment, 1977. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000. At auction January 22, 2015.

The six pieces by Zalben in the auction, lots 291 through 296, include works from Mouseterpiece and Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter

Lot 295: Janson Mouse as Henri Matisse’s Icarus, paper collage, 2012.
Estimate $1,500 to $2,500. At auction January 22, 2015.

Zalben’s recent Mousterpiece was particularly a hit at museums where art programs for children used the story of a small mouse named Janson (after art historian H.W. Janson) to introduce them to the modern masters. Janson lives in a museum and learns to paint in the style of Albers, Rousseau, Warhol, Picasso and others, until she creates her own original work, her “mousterpiece,” thus arriving as an artist.