Edward Burne-Jones
Harvey Stein

Maira Kalman

Crosstown-Boogie-Woogie Maira Kalman Working as an illustrator, author, and designer, Maira Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor. 

Kalman speaks of her work as a form of journalism. She uses writing and drawing to render an ongoing account of the world as she sees it. Hers is a daily discipline of creativity based on photography, travel, research, walking, talking, and open observation. A serious love of distraction pervades. Abundant depictions of fashion, food, art, and architecture represent life’s great pleasures. At the same time rubber bands, pieces of moss, bobby pins, and snacks stake a claim for smaller forms of satisfaction. All of this might seem pretty trivial were it not for the counterweight of history, memory, and loss that is also ever-present. Chaos is another constant, be it crazy and madcap or simply devastating.

Indeed, it is her work’s gift to illuminate those things that affirm our own capacity for joy, sadness, humor, charm. In short, Kalman’s art inspires our humanity in light of life’s overwhelming events and details.

Maira Kalman (b. 1949 Tel Aviv, lives New York) is the author of twelve children’s books including Ooh-la-la (Max in Love). Among her adult classics are The Elements of Style, an illustrated edition of Strunk and White’s timeless grammar, and The Principles of Uncertainty, a picture book of essays based on a yearlong online column for The New York Times. She has just completed a second online epic for The Times titled And the Pursuit of Happiness.

Kalman’s best known work, created with fellow illustrator Rick Meyerowitz, is New Yorkistan: a cartoon map of the city designated by tribes, such as Pashmina, Irant, and Irate. When it ran on the cover of The New Yorker in December 2001, it sanctioned a first burst of laughter in the aftermath of 9/11. A relatively more secret aspect of her identity is as the “M” in M&Co, the revolutionary design firm founded by her late husband, Tibor Kalman, with whom she was a constant collaborator. The firm’s famous 10-One-4 watch is based on one of her doodles. She has collaborated on projects with the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, the choreographer Mark Morris, and the composer Nico Muhly. Her work can be seen in The Jewish Museum .


I had the pleasure of seeing her show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF. She, along with Roz Chast, are two of my favorite cartoonists in the New Yorker. Thanks for this great article-I learned more about her and will continue to follow her work.

Thank you for your comment. I like both Kalman and Chast and think they have very similar styles and sense of humor. Looking forward to seeing more of their work.

So cute! I already like you on FB and also get your posts on Google Reader. :)

Un très bel article qui a été écrit dans ce blog et toute la pensée exprimée par le présent article. Dans cet article, la FA? Consiste à exprimer les pensées sont très gentils et il est court et doux pour moi pla t plus ici....

Primeiro de tudo eu quero dizer blogue fantástico! Eu tinha uma pergunta rápida, que eu gostaria de perguntar se você não se importa. Eu estava interessado em saber como você centralizar-se e limpar seus pensamentos antes de escrever. Eu tive um tempo difícil de limpar a minha mente na obtenção de minhas idéias para fora. Eu realmente não gosto de escrever no entanto, apenas parece que os primeiros 10 a 15 minutos geralmente são desperdiçados apenas tentando descobrir como começar. Quaisquer idéias ou sugestões? Obrigado!

Non, il a vraiment écrit ça Jaenada? Non parce que l'amitié d'accord, mais ça n'empêche pas la lucidité non plus...

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