Charles Santore: Fifty Years of Art and Storytelling

Charles Santore: Fifty Years of Art and Storytelling


This first-ever retrospective of the work of Charles Santore (born 1935) traces the development of the internationally renowned illustrator from his commercial work of the 1960s to his most recent children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2017). The exhibition includes illustrations for The Wizard of Oz, Paul Revere’s Ride, A Stowaway on Noah’s Ark, Snow White, and other books, together with theater posters, album covers, and celebrity portraits made for TV Guide in the 1970s and 1980s. Preliminary sketches, color studies, and dummy books show how Santore brings characters to life and makes them his own. The accompanying digital catalogue includes a conversation with the artist.

Born in Philadelphia, Santore graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1956. He began his career as a freelance illustrator working for advertising agencies and magazines including, TV Guide, Saturday Evening Post, Time, Life and many others. Since 1986 Santore has worked as a children’s book illustrator becoming one of the most respected and acclaimed illustrators of today.

His work has been the focus of several major exhibitions at the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Society of Illustrators in New York. He was also included in the nationwide traveling exhibition Myth, Magic and Mystery: One Hundred Years of American Children’s Book Illustration. Santore is the recipient of numerous awards including the Society of Illustrators Award of Excellence and the Hamilton King Award. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brandywine River Museum of Art, and the Free Library of Philadelphia.


Upcoming Events

Open House

Saturday, February 24, 2018 | 2 - 4 pm



Lecture: “Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

Saturday, March 10 | 3 pm

$15 ($10 members)

Lecturer: Michael Patrick Hearn, independent scholar
Take a visual journey down the “yellow brick road” with artworks that illustrate L. Frank Baum’s famous children’s book, The Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900. Michael Patrick Hearn will share insights about images of the Wizard created over the last century, from original illustrations by W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill to contemporary depictions by Charles Santore.


Sunday, April 8 | Noon – 4 pm

all ages | Suggested donation $5/family

  • Artmaking and Book Fun | Noon – 2 pm
    Readings of excerpts from Charles Santore’s children’s books The Wizard of Oz, Paul Revere’s Ride, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Aesop’s Fables, and more will inspire young artists to create puppets and masks of their favorite characters.
  • Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
    Mime artists and stilt walkers will roam through Woodmere’s galleries and entertain and fascinate the entire family.
  • The Little Circus Performance | 2 pm
    Aerial, trapeze, juggling, and tightwire artists from the Little Circus provide an interactive and fun-loving performance that interprets Charles Santore’s children’s book illustrations. Children can meet with the performers and learn some circus arts after the performance.

Lecture: Contemporary Illustration

Saturday, April 14 | 3 pm

$15 ($10 members)

Lecturer: Matthew Curtius, program director and associate professor of illustration, University of the Arts
Curtius shares his insights on the evolution of illustration, contemporary approaches, and the impact of digital technology on design and process used in book illustration, advertising, magazines, packaging, advertising, animations, and products.