Winnie-The-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, at the High Museum, Atlanta (Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: CFFC)

Step up Atlanta – there are only three days left to see the High Museum’s exhibition Winnie the Pooh, Exploring a Classic. It’s an immersive exhibition with many original drawings by illustrator E.H. Shepard, plus a room full of Pooh memorabilia, photographs, play-spaces, and reproductions of the toys.

To me the drawings were a revelation. I’d seen (and loved) the books, but the preparatory drawings are on a whole new level. There’s more depth and detail in the drawings than in the modern editions of the books.

"Do you think it's a Woozle?" - Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic - “Pooh and Piglet go hunting,” Winnie-the-Pooh chapter 3, pen and ink sketch by E. H.Shepard, 1926. From the collection of Clive and Alison Beecham © The Shepard Trust

“Do you think it’s a Woozle?” – Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic – “Pooh and Piglet go hunting,” Winnie-the-Pooh chapter 3, pen and ink sketch by E. H.Shepard, 1926. From the collection of Clive and Alison Beecham © The Shepard Trust

We see Pooh and Piglet (above) from behind, but they’re still individual personalities. I hadn’t seen Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and company for a while. Modern anime eyes and googley Disney eyes and exaggeration are so intrusive that I’d almost forgotten the joys of subtle expression, compact movement and economy of line.

Another revelation: the trees. The subject may be Piglet in the flood or three friends discovering Roo, but the forest is a character too.

A very small animal entirely surrounded by water - E.H. Shepherd, 1926

“It’s a little anxious to be a very small animal entirely surrounded by water” – E.H.Shepard, 1926

E.H. Shepherd, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum Atlanta

E.H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum Atlanta

The Three Pine Trees - High Museum, Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

The Three Pine Trees – High Museum, Winnie the Pooh, Exploring a Classic, High Museum, Atlanta

Re-reading the first book, I found only one written description of the trees. The illustrations carry it after that.

It was a fine spring morning in the forest as he started out. Little soft clouds played happily in a blue sky, skipping from time to time in front of the sun as if they had come to put it out, and then sliding away suddenly so that the next might have his turn. Through them and between them the sun shone bravely; and a copse which had worn its firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily.

They’re a little bit of ancient Britain shining first into the 20th, and now the 21st Century, a remnant of enchanted forests.

Here’s a photograph of E.H. Shepard…

E.H. Shepard, photograph by Howard Coster, 1932, given by Mrs Norah Shepard © National Portrait Gallery, London.

E.H. Shepard, photograph by Howard Coster, 1932, given by Mrs Norah Shepard © National Portrait Gallery, London. (High Museum, Winnie-the-Pooh, Exploring a Classic)

… and A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear, by Howard Coster, 1926 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

A.A. Milne, Christopher  Robin Milne and Pooh Bear, by Howard Coster, 1926 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photograph of A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin
From: Correspondence and other material relating to the illustration and publication of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Now we are six’, 1925-1926.

 

And at the end, wall-sized “Good-Bye”… 

High Museum, Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

“Of course it isn’t really good-bye… the Forest will always be there, and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”

And one more thing, for a little color, and a little fun, (and in case you’re wondering how I can possibly work this post into this week’s Cee’s Photo Challenge: Teal/Aqua/Seafoam/Turquoise)… who doesn’t love picture cut-outs?

Eeyore/Piglet cutout - High Museum Winnie the Pooh Exploring a Classic

Today’s question: are you Friendly with Bears?

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

More on the exhibition: High Museum

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12 thoughts on “Winnie-The-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, at the High Museum, Atlanta (Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: CFFC)

  1. Oh, that first picture of Pooh and Piglet just brought floods of memories! Such a sweet scene, and you are so right about the appeal and surprising depth of a simple drawing.

  2. What a wonderful exhibition. A trip down memory lane and more. I like how it says the forest is a character too. The bigger and broader the tree, the more homely it may be – perfect for Piglet. The sketches do look very close to what we know of the classic today 😊

    • I’m so attached to the trees. They’re like our dream of what a forest should be. The toys in the exhibit were reproductions, but so interesting to see where the characters came from and how the writer and illustrator developed their personalities.

      • I’m at Dragon Con this weekend – lots of cosplay. It just occurred to me with your comment, I haven’t seen any Poohs or Piglets. Wonder Woman is still popular. Also some people lumbering around in inflated T-rex suits. Maybe today I’ll see an Eeyore (that would be a good one for me to wear!)

      • With these conventions, it does seem that comic book and superhero dress ups are the more common. Maybe you will see a Disney character somewhere. Disney Princesses seem to be still around.

      • Yesterday I saw three Brides — not sure what’s going on with that. But yes, Disney Princesses from Frozen are still popular. There are so many different anime and comics characters now that it’s hard to keep track. People get very creative.

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