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Art Seiden Mid century Illustrator of children’s books

July 10, 2017

Art Seiden was a truly astounding artist who (again) very little information is available on the internet. He was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1918. He received a BA at Queens College and studied for eight years (!) at the Art Students League.  See how full of character these animal illustrations are.

Upon entering the illustration field he did corporate and advertising work for some of the largest companies in America: Phillip Morris, Hoffmann-LaRoche, General Motors and Hearst Publications were some of his clients.


His distinctive style, best and longest association would have to be in the realm of children’s book illustration, where he ‘cut his teeth’ illustrating “Three Mice and a Rat” by Margaret Wise Brown and Jean H. Berg in 1950.

Somehow his work makes me feel calm and engaged at the same time.

Seiden illustrated over 300 books and was both author and artist of at least 22 children’s books for virtually every major publisher in America, beginning rather appropriately with “My ABC Book” for Wonder Books in 1953.

Of course his illustrations touched many of the well known, favourite characters over the years too.

Seiden worked mainly in transparent watercolours and gouache and is a member of the American Watercolour Society and The Society of Illustrators, among others. His work is represented by the Kendra Krienke Gallery in New York City and he lived in Woodmere, NY.

Great to come across these two paintings of his depicting female nudes and a sunny shuttered alleyway.

Just a small selection of the many, many books (around 300 remember!) that Art created illustrations for.

Seiden spent the following decades working with an alphabet of authors and coming back around to Margaret Wise Brown with one final book, “The Train to Timbuctoo” for Golden Books in 1999.

Many thanks to Leif Peng, over at the wonderful Today’s Inspiration, who tracked down this info back in 2005. Should anyone have any more knowledge about this artist, photographs, sketches etc, please feel free to get in touch and I will share it with pleasure. Thank you. If you enjoyed this post you may also like the work of Alain Gree.













18 Comments leave one →
  1. Elaine Wrightson permalink
    July 10, 2017 7:05 pm

    Lovely collection. Particularly liked the animals. Thank you 🙂

  2. Sandro permalink
    July 13, 2017 3:06 am

    enjoyed this, thanks. nice body of work.

  3. July 18, 2017 1:16 am

    Delightful, colorful, whimsical. Gee, why can’t real life be like this? I love the peacock near the top section, but really, everything is just fabulous. This was when childhood was such an innocent and safe era. I remember getting ‘lost’ in books like these. Thanks Craig!

    • July 18, 2017 8:58 am

      Thanks Joy. I can always welcome a source in which, you can loose yourself in another time, world, sense of being etc People used to call it daydreaming or escapism, but often it helps to cleanse the mind… a bit like meditatating . Glad you liked the illustrations.

  4. July 18, 2017 6:31 pm

    hmmm…. similar to when I would day dream about Joni Mitchell’s album artwork when I was in ‘Office Machines’ class in high school… (learning about fun things like dictation, copiers, adding machines, etc.–the pre-computer days. 😉

    • July 22, 2017 5:46 pm

      I’ve been a life long fan of Joni Mitchell, music and stories to my ears as a sixteen year old folk obsessed teenager lol

  5. July 27, 2017 4:37 am

    All time favourite! Thanks for collating this post, so many wonderful images in one place – love it!!

  6. July 3, 2020 1:42 pm

    I recently found out that Art Seiden was my grandfather’s cousin. My grandfather, Irving Seiden, studied painting at Pratt (where he met my grandmother), and later worked in advertising. My mother remember’s going to Art’s house once and how splendid the colors of the interior were! Thank you for you post. Even though he is a distant relative, it is fun for me to see Art’s work.

    • July 3, 2020 2:11 pm

      Thanks Cathy also for your story, great to hear a little of his home life too

    • Angela Kee permalink
      April 5, 2021 3:07 pm

      hi, cathy. did your grandfather, irving seiden, ever live in detroit, michigan?

  7. Joyce D’Onofrio permalink
    December 16, 2021 4:20 am

    This was my uncle n I couldn’t b prouder! More than his talents, he was a sweet n gentle man! I grew up in the fifties w his books, and always felt a closeness to him thru his craft! I am soo happy that i got to tell him this many times as an adult❣️💕

  8. Virginia Jones permalink
    July 17, 2022 3:35 am

    Thank you for sharing.
    Interesting history and lovely collection of work.
    I’m looking at books by Gladys Emerson Cook and see one listed as Big Book of Cats by Art Seiden and Gladys E Cook. There is no image. I’m wondering if different book than one looking for that have seen cover of, with real looking cats, and only lists Gladys Emerson Cook), or if misprint. On one site listed as Published by Penguin Publishing Group, 1954 (Abebooks) with just Gladys E Cook, on other (thriftbooks)as 1965 with both. Did Art Seiden ever do a book by this name, write it only perhaps, or do style of illustrations that realistic?
    Thank you for your insight.

    • July 17, 2022 5:07 pm

      I’m sorry but I can’t answer. I wouldn’t imagine Art drew a book of realistic cats as well as those in his wonderfully descriptive style.

      • Virginia Jones permalink
        July 17, 2022 9:18 pm

        Thank you for your response and insight. That was my assumption too, that not his artistic style, Will only know if any specific listing accurate if order that book and noted within. Many today use digital matches without checking actual. Thank you again for all the lovely images and insightful history on classic that we know little about. I enjoy finding these well-researched articles that enrich our knowledge of the world around us that too often take for granted without comprehending how evolved to.


  1. Textbook examples of great art

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