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DEATH BECOMES HIM

Edward Gorey’s drawing for a page of The Lavender Leotard: or, Going a Lot to the New York City Ballet, 1973, pen and ink on paper mounted on board, 4 1/2 × 6".

WHEN THE AMERICAN ARTIST, illustrator, and author Edward Gorey died out on Cape Cod in 2000 at age seventy-five, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford was notified—I imagine via ominous phone call and completely without warning—that they were to receive a bequest of Mr. Gorey’s creepy and mysterious fine-art collection. Included in the gift, as the museum would soon learn, were a total of seventy-three works: etchings by Eugène Delacroix, Édouard Manet, and Charles Meryon; a lithograph by Edvard Munch and another by Odilon Redon; a Félix Vallotton woodcut; ten exquisite Eugène Atget photographs; and drawings or sketches by Balthus, Glen Baxter, Pierre Bonnard, George Booth, Charles Burchfield, Edward Lear, James Thurber, Bill Traylor, and Édouard Vuillard. In addition to these, there were drawings by anonymous commercial or self-trained artists of various eras

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