The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature

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Visual Arts
The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature
April 10 – May 16
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Truly a vision of the fantastic, the exhibition The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature offers an amazing exploration of both illustrative art and the evolution of the visual landscape of science fiction and fantasy literature. Featuring work by both American and European artists and spanning more than a century, these vivid illustrations bring to life adventures, beings, and worlds conjured in novels such as Don Quixote, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Tarzan, and pulp magazines including Amazing StoriesWeird TalesFantastic Adventures, and Wonder Stories. Accomplishing far more than simply guiding readers in their explorations of new and sometimes bizarre realms, the range and impact of these illustrations is far-reaching.

The illustrations featured in this exhibition are treasured pieces of the Korshak Collection, owned by collector Stephen Korshak. The love of both literature and art of the science fiction and fantasy genres is a passion Stephen Korshak shared with his father Erle Korshak, a founder of the imprint Shasta Publishers, which specialized in science fiction books. Shasta played a key role in ushering in the transition that saw important science fiction literature move from the pages of magazines printed on cheap pulp paper to hardcover, library-quality books. Much of the illustration art for Shasta publications hung in the Korshak family home and the company office where, as a young man, Stephen Korshak encountered it — a fact he cites as inspiring in him a sense of wonder, and a passion for the illustrations of the genre. This will be the first public exhibition of the European works in the collection.

The exhibition includes original artworks by 85 artists including N.C. Wyeth, Frank E. Schoonover, J. Allen St. John, Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, José Segrelles, Aubrey Beardsley, Honoré Daumier, Frank Frazetta, Frank R. Paul, Hannes Bok, Virgil Finley, Edward Emsh, Kelly Freas, Iain McCaig, Jim Burns, José Segrelles, Brian Froud, Michael Kaluta, Brothers Hildebrandt, Scott Fisher, Michael Whelan, Alex Schomburg, Heinrich Kley, Gustaf Tenggren, Kay Nielsen, and Edward Emsh.

The exhibition also includes books, pulp magazines, and other items drawn from UMBC’s Rosenfeld Collection, revealing how the illustrations in the Korshak Collection were meant to appear when encountered as artifacts of material culture.

Gallery hours:
Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday until 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.

The presentation of The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature at UMBC is supported in part by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Friends of the Library & Gallery, the Libby Kuhn Endowment, and individual contributions.


Public Programs:

A Conversation with Collector Stephen Korshak
Thursday, April 13, 6 p.m., reception to follow
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Introduced to literature and art of the science fiction and fantasy genres by his father Erle Korshak, a founder of the sci-fi imprint Shasta Publishers, collector Stephen Korshak will discuss the history and context of sci-fi and fantasy illustration, and share insights about the world class collection he has thoughtfully built over several decades.

Artist’s Talk: Donato Giancola
Thursday, May 4, 5 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Award-winning illustrator Donato Giancola, best known for his endlessly creative and exquisitely rendered science fiction and fantasy illustrations, will discuss his broad range of illustrative work.

Giancola’s diverse clients include: DC Comics; Sci Fi Channel; Wizards of the Coast (Magic: The Gathering); Tor Books; National Geographic, Milton Bradley; Microsoft; Penguin; Random House; Hasbro; Scholastic; Simon & Schuster; The Village Voice; CNN; United Nations; U.S. Postal Service.


Admission to the exhibition and public programs are free and open the public. Click here for directions and parking information.

Image: José Segrelles, War of the Worlds, c. 1930. Mixed media. Courtesy of The Korshak Collection.

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