Marvin Bileck (American, 1920-2005) was an accomplished artist and illustrator of children’s books, with a lifelong love of line drawing. He met his wife, the artist Emily Nelligan, while studying at Cooper Union in the 1940s. For decades, they summered together on Cranberry Island, Maine, the landscape of which, alongside the woods surrounding their home in Winstead, Connecticut, can be seen in much of his work. These intensely detailed etchings and drawings, often compared with work of the Northern Renaissance, are parallels to the imaginative work he produced throughout his career as an illustrator of children’s books. Of the many books he illustrated, the 1964, Caldecott Honor winning Rain Makes Applesauce is perhaps the best known.
Bileck taught for many years, beginning in 1960 at the Philadelphia College of Art, and then, from 1967-1992, at Queens College in New York. His illustrations are beloved by children and adults to this day, and his work has been widely exhibited at museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Queens Museum.