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Tomi Ungerer, Fear of Feelings, 1982, ink and colored pencil on tracing paper, 10 × 8".

Tomi Ungerer

Drawing Center

Tomi Ungerer, Fear of Feelings, 1982, ink and colored pencil on tracing paper, 10 × 8".

Anyone who’s ever had occasion to care for kids knows that there are certain books you read with them that are just as much for you as they are for them, perhaps even more so. In our house, we turned to the authors of these books—Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm; Seuss, Dahl, Sendak, Gorey—not just because they were more fun to read than the usual children’s fare, but also, I suppose, with the idea that our children would detect in their work, however informally, traces of complexity and nuance, of genuine artistry. Among the volumes by these familiar figures we also had a few books by Tomi Ungerer, an artist I knew little about prior to the stirring, if occasionally frustrating, recent exhibition of his work organized by Claire Gilman for the Drawing Center. Our favorite was Allumette (1974), an odd and beautiful reimagining of Andersen’s “Little Match

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