The Temple of Silence

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The Temple of Silence: The Forgotten Works and Worlds of Herbert Crowley by Justin Duerr

Hardcover – Beehive Books – Feb 2018

The cartoonist, painter, illustrator, and sculptor Herbert Crowley was an innovator at the dawn of comics, and a defining figure of the early 20th century New York City avant garde art scene.

He exhibited his work in dozens of venues, including the legendary Armory Show of 1913 alongside Picasso and van Gogh, and in a joint exhibition with Léon Bakst in 1914. He received countless glowing reviews, describing him as a visionary voice exploring a brand new form of art. His cartoons were featured in the now-storied New York Herald Sunday comics section, printed on the reverse side of of Winsor McCay’s masterpiece LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND.

A 1915 article in The Bookman called Crowley an artist whose “star is very decidedly in the ascendant. New York City at large discovered Herbert Crowley only a few months ago; but, once having been discovered, he is not the sort of person easily to be forgotten.”

But then… he was.  In 1917, he disappeared from the New York City scene, and never showed his artwork again.

Crowley’s art has not been exhibited in over fifty years.

Outside of two great comics collections reproducing a small handful of his Wigglemuch strips, none of his astonishing work — which includes oil paintings, pen & ink illustrations, bronze sculptures, set designs, children’s books and more — has ever been collected or published. Over the course of a century, the memory of this uniquely brilliant artist has been erased.

But now this material has been collected in an oversized hardcover archival art book that contains the greatest works of his remarkable career.

At one hundred pages and 11″ x 17”, this handsomely produced prestige edition contains a wealth of his artwork, much of it at its original size—alongside a comprehensive 20,000 word biography recounting his unforgettable tale. What is published here is not just a collection of his work—it’s a definitive volume celebrating and contextualizing a unique creative force in the world.

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