Michael McCurdy (1942-12016) was an award-winning artist, illustrator, author and publisher who worked from his red barn studio in the hills of Great Barrington for twenty-five years before retiring to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Born in New York City in 1942 and raised in New Rochelle, New York and Marblehead, Massachusetts, he attended the school of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (which provided him with a traveling scholarship in 1966), and Tufts University in Medford. Since then, McCurdy has produced an impressive collection of wood engravings, etchings and drawings which have appeared in over 200 books for both adults and children and at art galleries and museums nationwide.
From 1968-1985, under the auspices of Penmaen Press Books, Michael published many small-press first editions for leading American and European writers and poets, including William Saroyan, Joyce Carol Oates, Howard Norman, William Stafford, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and the Nobel Prize-winning poet Vicente Aleixandre. He has also authored numerous publications himself, including his most recent book, An Algonquian Year: The Year According to the Full Moon.
McCurdy’s distinctive drawings, etchings and woodcarvings range from depictions of rural life to interpretations of historical events to whimsical scenes of fantasy. Compositions often include human or animal figures juxtaposed against magnificent vistas of land, sea, sky and water, conveying a powerful yet meditative sense of awe and reverence for nature.
Well known for works in black and white, McCurdy also produced colored scratchboard drawings and paintings of acrylic and casein. He passed on his skill to others through various adult printmaking courses and has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Concord Academy in Concord.
Mr. McCurdy was the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, twice receiving the New York Times Best Illustrated Books Award. He was featured in Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and Something About the Author. He was listed in a new edition of Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults and will be included in the next edition of Anita Silvey's Children's Books and Their Creators.
Michael served on the Housing Authority and on the Arts Lottery Commission in Great Barrington.
Scratchboard Drawing, 7" x 11", 1999
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The Penmaen Press - books in print from Michael McCurdy's literary press http://www.bcn.net/~mmccurdy/penmaen.htm
Child at Heart Gallery, Newburyport, Massachusetts - the premiere site for Children's Book Illustrators and picture book illustration - Michael McCurdy Page
Church Street Art, Lenox, Massachusetts - Outsider Art, Folk Art and Exceptions
Elizabeth Stone Gallery, Alexandria, VA - Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration - Michael McCurdy Page
University of Virginia Museum Traveling Exhibition (TEAMS) – Michael McCurdy’s Words into Images exhibit, featuring a selection of 31 original wood engravings created by Michael McCurdy for 2 books: My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir and The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono
Wessel and Lieberman Booksellers, Seattle, Washington
A Complete List of Michael McCurdy’s Exhibitions
Bibliography of Michael McCurdy
Alibris - new & used books by Michael McCurdy including rare signed and first editions
Article from Berkshires Week by Leslie Ann Beck, August 2004 - Michael McCurdy's engravings mark "Walden" anniversary
The Correspondence of Michael McCurdy and Robert Hauser from the Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center – University of Connecticut – includes detailed documentation of the their collaboration in the creation of Face to Face
Thoreau/McCurdy Notecards – created in association with the Thoreau Society, six note cards that combine well-known Thoreau quotations with six of McCurdy's wood engravings and drawings
Meet Michael McCurdy - Houghton Mifflin “Authors and Illustrators Pages” for Kids - biography of Michael, and links to his books