22 x 48 inches
Still Image Item Type Metadata
Joseph Low, 95, of Chilmark and late of Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, died Feb. 12 of natural causes at Long Hill in Edgartown. Mr. Low was an illustrator, children's book writer, and graphic designer with a number of New Yorker covers to his credit published from 1940-1980. He wrote and illustrated many children's books, one of which, Mice Twice, won the Caldecott Award in 1981 and is still published. During the 1950s and 60s, Mr. Low was commissioned by the Hayden Society to create more than 100 record covers for their classical music recordings, which he enjoyed not only for the artistic freedom it gave him, but also the expansive musical collection he was able to amass for enjoyment throughout his life. In the 1950s, Mr. Low purchased a Washington hand press and type from a small town newspaper in West Virginia and started printing lino cuts of his drawings as mailing pieces to exhibit his work to editors and publishers. He established the Eden Hill Press in the 1950s after moving to Newtown, Conn. and adding an electric press, a Colt's Armory Press. He then started publishing limited editions of his own work in book form, portfolio form, and large hand prints, often using handmade paper and multicolor print techniques, all in the letterpress technique. This same press is now in the hands of The Indian Hill Press of West Tisbury. He admired primitive untutored artistic expression, medieval and baroque sculpture in Europe, traveling to northern Spain, visiting small Basque and Catalan towns and southern France in the Provence region. He often sought out shuttered ancient chapels, discovering dusty treasures which influenced his work. Joseph Low was born in Coraopolis, Pa. in 1911. Later his family moved to Chicago, Ill., where he attended the Chicago Art Institute. He recently bequeathed many of his collected works to the Newberry Library in Chicago where he had been able to spend much of his time in his early twenties independently studying collections of illustrated books. His life-long passion for sailing began as a teenager sailing on Lake Michigan. He moved to New York city in 1937 to attend the Art Students League, specifically to study with George Grosz, but found the visual wealth of the various museums a superior source of inspiration and was largely self-taught. He met fellow student Ruth Hull at the League, and they were married in 1940. They collaborated on a book together, Mother Goose Riddle Rhymes. The book, which had pictures taking the place of words, was published in 1954 by Harcourt Brace. Mr. Low and his wife, Ruth, first came to the Vineyard as friends of Broni and Ann Lesnikowski of Vineyard Haven, the former being a fellow student at the Art Students League in New York city. They fell in love with the Island, and 36 years ago built their home in Chilmark. Thereafter they spent six months of the year on St John and the warmer six months on the Vineyard. In that way Mr. Low could sail throughout the year. He was still sailing solo until age 90 when his eyesight became too poor. A perfect day for him was sailing out of the Vineyard Haven harbor on a clear day with a good wind. He enjoyed competing in the Sunday Holmes Hole races and won the first George Moffet race ever held.
Signed, lower right
Low, Joseph, “Walking Monster,” Westport Public Schools Digital Collections, accessed October 15, 2021, https://collections.westportps.org/items/show/286.
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