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Maira Kalman Representation Announcement

Maira Kalman by Kimisa H
Maira Kalman © Kimisa H

Mary Ryan Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of New York City-based artist Maira Kalman. Best known for her whimsical yet probing imagery which captures the beauties and banalities of modern life, Kalman’s illustrations explore the human condition using objects, interiors and figures as foils to create poignant pictures of daily life as she sees and lives it. “There is a strong personal narrative aspect of what I do,” Kalman explains. “What happens in my life is interpreted in my work. There is very little separation. My work is my journal of my life.”

Born in Israel in 1949, Kalman emigrated to the United States and has lived in New York since the age of four. New York became a perfect milieu for her sharply observed world—Kalman’s fresh and poignant illustrations of contemporary life have earned her both critical and popular acclaim. Kalman typically chooses to work with gouache on paper, but also with embroidery, textile, and design.

“Mary Ryan Gallery has always contended that the best of illustration is the best of fine art, and we have long championed for its proper recognition in art history,” said Mary Ryan. “For this reason, we are thrilled to be working with Maira Kalman, whose culturally important work is an excellent addition to our gallery roster.”

Kalman began her career with the development of M&Co, an influential graphic and design consultancy founded by her husband, the celebrated graphic designer Tibor Kalman, in 1979. Following the birth of her children, Kalman began publishing picture books. Her first publication Stay Up Late (1985) illustrates the lyrics to David Byrne’s song of the same name. She has gone on to write, illustrate and publish over thirty books for adults and children throughout the course of her versatile career. Kalman’s playful and witty illustrations are frequently published in The New Yorker and The New York Times. She lives and works in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Kalman has two books coming out this fall: Women Holding Things and One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World, a collaboration with Michael Frank. The illustrations in the former publication will be the subject of Kalman’s debut solo exhibition, Women Holding Things at Mary Ryan Gallery, opening on October 6, 2022.

Kalman was included in ten exhibitions organized by her previous gallerist, the late Julie Saul. In recent years, her work has been featured in several solo exhibitions throughout the United States, including The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children (2019), which was organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst; Sara Berman’s Closet (2017), which was organized by Mmuseumm and travelled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, the National Museum of American Jewish Heritage, Philadelphia, and will open at the Sarasota Art Museum, Florida in 2023; Maira Kalman Selects (2015), at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; and Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) (2011), which was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and travelled to the Jewish Museum, New York, the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.