For years Antonie Becker has been making whimsical, New Yorker-like illustrations of life in New York City, and now here they are in an exhibition!
I’m delighted Antonie made postcard announcements, as she has been a great sender of postcards throughout my life. (And has the most expressive handwriting!)Kenneth Perrin Becker was Antonie’s father. A very American-feeling painter based in Chicago, he is known for his watercolors.
Christopher Robin received the Alpha Farnell teddy bear (purchased from Harrods, of course) as a present for his first birthday (calling him Edward, not Winnie-the-Pooh). But it inspired his father’s stories of Pooh bear, as did Christopher Robin’s other stuffed animals.
On display at Milne’s American publisher’s from 1947-1987, the animals were then donated to the New York Public Library to greet children and grownups visiting from all over the world. I saw them myself on my first visit to New York as a young snail, and it was the highlight of my trip. Their personalities are fully present, poignantly, because they have been so well loved. As the Skin Horse told the Velveteen Rabbit, “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Next time, we continue with the Mike Falcon series, which will take us to sweet home Chicago–Antonie’s hometown, as a matter of fact. Nice segue, huh?