On Monday 13 March, Kitty Crowther was awarded the Prix Libbylit 2016 for the best Belgian children’s book for her marvellous picture book Jan Toorop – The song of time. Here is an extract from a very fine article written by Lucie Cauwe on her blog soon after its release:
The chances are that few people here have heard of the symbolist and pioneering Art Nouveau painter Jan Toorop (…), even though his powerful and extremely personal work inspired Gustav Klimt and other Viennese artists.
You quickly understand what Paul Verlaine said about him, “a fine brown-skinned Javanese with dark, gentle eyes, and a thick, soft beard, blue because it was so black”, thanks to the beautiful coloured pencil picture book that the Belgian writer-illustrator Kitty Crowther dedicated to him. Fortunately, ‘Jan Toorop – le chant du temps’, created for the exhibition in The Hague, was published in French (Versant Sud Jeunesse, 32 pages).
The book is a real gem. An artist’s book about an artist. With her beautiful, personal and clever drawings on every page, even across double-page spreads, Kitty Crowther tells us the story of the life of the painter. In her own unique colours, she acquaints us with his work. One page of text at the start and a dozen lines at the end provide some biographical details. To know more, you need to dive into the pictures to find the two princesses who accompany Jan Toorop throughout his life, understand how his childhood in Java influenced his painting, and witness his meeting with his wife, his conversion to Catholicism and the birth of his daughter who would become an artist like her father. Yes, ‘le temps chante’ for Jan Toorop, thanks to Kitty Crowther.
To read more, see the full article!