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NYC Parks’Arsenal Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Great Outdoors: Selections from the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. The exhibition showcases over thirty artworks from the Museum of American Illustration’s collection that depict the vast indulgences of outdoor life. Great Outdoors opens to the public on Thursday, March 10 and is on display through April 21, 2016.

Illustration has been linked to the printed word for centuries. The art form crosses cultures, class, time and education, and brings visual form to things imagined. The show features illustrations originally published in books, magazines and weeklies from the Golden Age of Illustration (1880-1920) through 2014.  The works portray an eclectic variety of outdoor scenes including sports such as ice skating, horseback riding and biking, as well as displays of quiet contemplation.

James Montgomery Flagg and Haddon “Sunny” Sundblom are among the exhibited illustrators. Flaggs’s pen and ink drawing In the Monkey House (c. 1938) depicts a crowd of revelers enjoying a trip to the zoo. Flagg, who moved into an apartment in the Hotel Des Artistes off Central Park West in 1904, created illustrations for Harper’s Weekly, The Saturday Evening Post, and Scribner’s, but is most noted for his “I Want You” wartime image of Uncle Sam. Sundblom’s painting of a female tennis player and her beau illustrated Lucia Alzamora’s short story Never Say Die (1938) in Ladies Home Journal. Seven years earlier, he was commissioned by The Coca-Cola Company to create a ‘wholesome’ version of Father Christmas. He spent the next 35 years painting the recognizable jolly image, which Coca-Cola still uses to this day.

Artists in the exhibition include: Edmund M. Ashe, Warren Baumgartner, Reginald Bathurst Birch, E. N. Blue, Charles Livingston Bull, Paul C. Burns, Pruett A. Carter, Joseph Clement Coll, John Collier, Paul Cox, Robert Morris Cunningham, John Phillip Falter, James Montgomery Flagg, Betty Fraser, Stan Galli, Max Ginsburg, Frederic Rodrigo Gruger, Malthe Hasselriis, William T. Hatherell, Robert Hunt, John La Gatta, Robert Andrew Parker, William Meade Prince, Ray Prohaska, Rudolph Frederick Schabelitz, James Spanfeller, Harve Stein, Haddon Hubbard Sundblom, Clarence F. Underwood, William Francis (Frank) Ver Beck,  and Meg Wohlberg.

The Society of Illustrators, founded in 1901, is the oldest nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the art and appreciation of illustration in America. Prominent Society members have been Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell, among others. The Museum of American Illustration was established by the Society in 1981 and is located in the Society’s vintage 1875 carriage house building in mid-town Manhattan. To learn more about admission fees and visiting the Society, click here.

The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history.  It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street.  Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Admission is free.

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