“I came like water and like wind I go,” reads the verse which inspired this wonderful signed gouache illustration by Willy Pogany, one of our favorite Golden age artists. The image shows a nude maiden on a serene ledge in contemplation of the leaves blowing in the breeze. This appearedas an illustration for the 1942 Crowell edition of Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam. Painting is handsomely silk matted and framed under glass and remains in a pristine state of conservation.
Willy Pogany was one of the most important book illustrators and designers of the first half of the 20th century. His Rime of the Ancient Mariner and books based on Wagnerian opera are masterpieces, to say nothing of his editions of Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland, and Faust. While other illustrators were confining themselves to an occasional tipped in plate buried among page after page of identical text blocks, Pogany broke the mold, designing elaborate pen and ink illustrations that surrounded the text, ornate capitals for the beginning of each page and calligraphy that turned the words into art. He is probably the artist most responsible for establishing what we think of as modern children’s book illustration.