In a stunning announcement this weekend, Derick Dreher, director of the Rosenbach of the Free Library in Philadelphia, stated that the institution’s Maurice Sendak collection, which had been “on loan” for decades, will be transferred to Connecticut, where Sendak estate trustees are planning to build a museum dedicated to the artist.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sendak never formally gifted the thousands of original drawings and manuscripts he deposited at the Rosenbach beginning in the 1960s. The artist died in 2012, and his will indicates that the collection belongs to his eponymous foundation, the trustees of which are tasked with founding a Sendak museum near his former home in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The collection formerly on deposit at the Rosenbach will populate the new museum’s vault.
Kimerly Rorschach, who was a curator at the Rosenbach in the 1980s and is now director of the Seattle Art Museum, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “It’s a huge loss. I am sorry about it for Philadelphia and the Rosenbach. I can see the charm of having it at his house. I’ve visited, and it’s an enchanting place. But it won’t be so easily accessible.”
On the bright side, writes Dreher, “The Rosenbach does own certain work made by Sendak, and this will remain a valued part of the collection. In addition, the so-called ‘Chertoff Mural,’ Sendak’s only work in that medium, will continue to be owned by the Rosenbach and displayed with its interpretive materials for public enjoyment.”
Plus, Sendak did leave his collection of rare books and manuscripts to the Rosenbach, including an extensive Melville collection.
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Reprinted with permission from Fine Books & Collections, author