‘In the light of the moon,
holding on to a good star,
a painter of rainbows
is now traveling across the night sky’
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KEY LARGO, Fla. — The Carle family announced Thursday that Eric Carle, beloved artist, illustrator, and writer, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family members on May 23, 2021 at his summer studio in Northampton, Mass. Carle kept a home in Hawley, Mass., on the edge of Berkshire County, for several years. He was 91.
A true creator, Eric Carle is renowned for his multi-dimensional practice, spanning a large body of fine art works in collage, painting, works on paper and fabric, and sculpture; theater and furniture design; and the stories he envisioned in over 70 brilliantly illustrated and designed children’s picture books. The books Eric created across more than 60 decades have sold over 170 million copies and include timeless classics such asDo You Want to Be My Friend?(1971),The Grouchy Ladybug(1977),Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me(1986),“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth(2002),The Very Clumsy Cricket(2017), and so many more. His best-known work,The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been translated into over 70 languages (including Mongolian) and shared around the world since its publication in 1969.
Drawing on his formal training and ongoing practice as an artist (which Eric fondly referred to as his “art art”), Eric quickly developed a distinctive, personal style that he continued to explore and refine in his books, illustrations, and fine art. Numerous artistic influences came together in Eric’s creative output. His art took root in the long tradition of collage, an artistic technique tracing back to the 1900s Dadaist movement, combined with his hand-painted, colorful, and textured tissue papers, which recall the work of abstract artists associated with the Academy of Fine Art Stuttgart (the so-called Stuttgartavantgardists), from where he earned his fine art degree.