Barbara Cooney bequeathed her original paintings for “Miss Rumphius” to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART

Explore the artistic process of Barbara Cooney  



Laura Sprague, senior consulting curator at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, presents on the work of author/illustrator Barbara Cooney and the museum’s collection of her original work and correspondence on July 27.
PHOTO COURTESY OF L. WALES

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – Island Readers & Writers will host a virtual program, Drawing on Detail: The Barbara Cooney Collection at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, from 4-5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27, with presenter Laura Sprague, senior consulting curator at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. 

Cooney, who died in her Damariscotta home in 2000, wrote or illustrated more than 100 children’s books during her six-decade career. Proclaimed a Maine State Treasure in 1996, she bequeathed her original paintings for “Miss Rumphius,” “Island Boy,” “Hattie and the Wild Waves,” and “Eleanor” to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.  

“We are excited for Laura to share her expertise on the illustrations of Barbara Cooney, who remains an icon in Maine and in children’s literature,” said IRW Executive Director Jan Coates. 

This illustrated slide talk will highlight Cooney’s original paintings. Preparatory sketches and related archives, donated to the Museum of Art by her children in 2015, reveal Cooney’s process. Correspondence and research notes detail her consideration of historical accuracy that makes her work so compelling. 

Sprague has been with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art since 1989, where she served as consulting curator of decorative arts until 2016, when she became senior consulting curator. 

Preregistration for this program is required. For more information and to register, visit www.islandreadersandwriters.org 

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