For 50 years, artist and storyteller Charles Schulz brightened the world with the unique cast of characters in the comic strip "Peanuts." The life and inspiration of the creator of this popular and influential comic strip will be the focus of the exhibition "Inside 'Peanuts': The Life and Art of Charles M. Schulz" at the Mulvane Art Museum June 16 to Sept. 16.
With Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the lovable "Peanuts" Gang, Schulz explored the emotional territory of friendship, disappointment, faith and tolerance. He transformed images of everyday life into art that captured the humor, vulnerability and dignity of the human spirit. Through "Peanuts," Schulz connected the world with his drawings and stories.
The exhibition follows Schulz from his Minnesota roots to his life in California and tracks the development of the characters that make up the unique world of "Peanuts." Examples of more than 40 "Peanuts" comic strips, Schulz quotes and photographs, and selected "Peanuts" collectibles will illuminate the story behind the creation of this most popular and influential cartoon strip. Examples of comic strips by George Herriman ("Krazy Kat"), Milton Caniff ("Terry and the Pirates") and Elzie C. Segar ("Thimble Theatre Starring Popeye") will show how these prominent cartoonists influenced Schulz as a young artist and will reveal the contrast of hiss drawing style to the elaborately illustrated cartoons popular during the early 20th century.
“Comic strips are an art form: a means of expressing an idea of a great truth in an abbreviated space,” Schulz noted in 1985. He was “master of the slight incident” and broke new ground for newspaper cartoons by using innovations such as Lucy’s psychiatric booth, Linus’ security blanket (a term Schulz coined), Snoopy’s dog house and Schroeder’s music. He profoundly influenced several generations of cartoonists with his spare graphic style and subtle sense of humor.
Schulz revolutionized the art of the comic strip through his single-handed dedication to the art, wit and wisdom of "Peanuts." For 50 years he researched, wrote, designed and drew each "Peanuts" strip that appeared in daily and Sunday newspapers, producing nearly 18,000 strips. From the comic strip’s humble beginnings in 1950, appearing in only seven newspapers, the popularity and influence of "Peanuts" grew rapidly. By 2000 it was the most successful comic strip in newspaper history, appearing in more than 40 languages, in 75 countries, in more than 2,600 newspapers, with more than 355 million readers. The strip and its characters were also the inspiration for nearly 50 television specials, two plays, four movies, a symphonic concerto, many books and thousands of licensed products. "Peanuts" products became a billion dollar worldwide industry, and Schulz became the highest paid, most widely read cartoonist in history.
Schulz officially retired in 1999 and always intended that the strip would retire with him. In early 2000, at age 77, just hours before the final "Peanuts" strip appeared in Sunday newspapers, Charles Schulz died at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. The next morning, tributes ran in newspapers around the world, including one from then-U.S. President Bill Clinton in USA Today: “The hopeful and hapless Charlie Brown, the joyful Snoopy, the soulful Linus, even the crabby Lucy, give voice, day after day, to what makes us human
Inside 'Peanuts': The Life and Art of Charles M. Schulz" was organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif. This exhibition is currently on an international tour around the world.
The exhibit is sponsored in part by AT&T, the Real Yellow Pages and yellowpages.com.
Family event on June 23: "Peanuts" Friends and Family Day! Drawing! Painting! Collage! 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 23. Visit the "Inside 'Peanuts': Works by Charles M. Schulz Exhibition," and come to ArtLab to re-create your favorite "Peanuts" character, or design your own character.
The Mulvane Art Museum is located at 17th and Jewell Streets on the campus of Washburn University. Museum, ArtLab and Gift Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission to the Museum and the ArtLab are free and open to the public. Free parking is conveniently located to the west of the museum. For more information call (785) 670-1124 or go to washburn.edu/mulvane.
Cindi Morrison, director, Mulvane Art Museum, (785) 670-1124
Gina Huntsinger, marketing director, Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, (707) 579-4452, ext. 268
Melissa Menta, "Peanuts" Worldwide LLC, (212) 293-8506
About the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center:
Open since 2002, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is located in Santa Rosa, Calif., and houses the largest collection of historical artifacts and original artwork by and about Charles M. Schulz in the world. The Schulz Museum features more than 6,000 square feet of gallery space; a re-creation of Schulz’s studio office; outdoor gardens and exhibits (including a Snoopy labyrinth and a kite-eating tree); a 100-seat theatre; a research library and archives; and an education room with hands-on activities and classes. For more information on the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, go to schulzmuseum.org.