Wanda Gág awarded Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award

NEW ULM — New Ulm native Wanda Gág was posthumously awarded the 2018 Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award.

Each year, the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators hosts The Original Art exhibit, a celebration of the art of children’s books. The Original Art exhibit showcases original art from the year’s best children’s books as determined by a jury of illustrators, art directors, and editors.

The Society also honors artists whose body of work documents an innovative and pioneering contribution to the field with the Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners are Paul O. Zelinsky and Wanda Gág.

This award has been given out since 2005. Gág joins past recipients of the award such as Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.

Gág was a pioneer in the development of picture book forms. Before Gág, children’s books placed text on one page and a single image on another. She was the first to integrate the text with the pictures, creating spot art and double-page spreads and using hand lettering.

Her first author/illustrator project “Millions of Cats” was published in 1928 and won the Newbery Medal. It is still in print today.

Gág received other book awards through the years. She was posthumously honored with the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 and the Kerlan Award in 1977.

The President of the Wanda Gag House Association Diana R. Lee Schaefer said this was very important recognition for Wanda Gág.

The award was formally announced Nov. 8 at a ceremony in New York City. Schaefer submitted a letter accepting the award on Wanda’s behalf, which was read during the ceremony. In the letter, Schaefer gave a short biography of Gág’s life in New Ulm and her love of drawing.

The actual award will be sent to the Wanda Gág House Association and will be displayed in Wanda’s childhood home.