This exhibition explores the ever-evolving visual landscape of science fiction and fantasy literature with illustrations from the collection of Stephen Korshak. Featuring original artwork by both American and European artists spanning more than a century, these vivid illustrations bring to life adventures, beings, and worlds conjured in novels such as Don Quixote and Tarzan, and pulp magazines including Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Fantastic Adventures and Wonder Stories. Accomplishing far more than simply guiding readers in their explorations of new and sometimes bizarre realms, the range and impact of these illustrations is far-reaching.
The collector Stephen Korshak literally grew up alongside the genre, as the son of pioneering science fiction publisher Erle Korshak.
“I learned that fantasy art was one subset of the entire field of illustration,” writes Stephen Korshak. “Some illustrators were self-taught, others was classically trained. Some illustrators’ works were iconic and defined a whole generation’s visualization of certain authors’ work and literary characters. I also learned that many scholars in the field of art during the twentieth century made a distinction between what they considered fine art versus illustration.
“Today a reassessment has been taking place among art historians and scholars. Many now consider some illustrators, like Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish and N. C. Wyeth, as fine artists as well as illustrators. If you look at many of the works in this collection, I think you will see that such distinctions are arbitrary.”
IMAGE: The Brothers Hildebrandt (American b. 1939), The Balrog, 1977, acrylic, 42 x 48 in., The Korshak Collection, A.32.1.