Ashley Bryan (American, 1923-2022)

Bryan was a key figure in American illustration, best known for his vibrant artistic contributions to children’s literature. He began painting and drawing at a young age and would continue to educate and create stories, drawings, and paintings for over nine decades. His print Family Circle (Self Portrait) portrays a warm, familial atmosphere with a masterful use of line and texture. He stated of art’s connection with humanity, “It’s what the arts open up, this investing of one’s life into trying to understand what it is to be.”

Bryan received an art degree from The Cooper Union, a BS in Philosophy from Columbia University, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Marseille at Aix-en-Provence in the 1950s. He was awarded the Coretta Scott King Award numerous times for children’s literature, and, in 2006, Bryan was the US nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition for creators of children’s books. In 2009, Bryan was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for children’s literature.