Tomi Ungerer

I discovered Tomi Ungerer walking by The Drawing Center in Soho. They were doing a retrospective of his work. Among the things appearing in this exhibition were political and satirical posters critical of racism, fascism, and the Vietnam War, drawings from advertising campaigns that appeared in the NYTimes and the Village Voice, illustrations from EsquireLife, and Harper's Bazaar, erotic drawings, and beautiful illustrations from a few of the 37 children's books he has authored and illustrated during his life time. His most recent, Fog Island, won the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2013.

He was born in Alsace, France in 1931, and currently lives in a remote part of southern Ireland. His work is not very well known in the United States. This is in part because in 1969 he self-published a book (Fornicon) of erotic drawings depicting people engaged in sexual activities with pleasure machines, and was blacklisted by libraries across the country. This (and Ungerer's being accused of being a Communist) caused he and his wife to leave the U.S. for good. In 1970, they moved from New York City to a farm on an isolated peninsula in Nova Scotia. They learned to raise geese, rabbits, sheep, and pigs and to slaughter their livestock. This five year experiment with self-sufficiency is chronicled in Slow Agony and Far Out isn't Far Enough: Life in the Back of BeyondBoth are books of sketches, watercolors, and pastels. 

No parking please, drawing for Slow Agony, 1983

His recent book, Fog Island, tells the story of a boy and girl who discover an island from which no living people return.