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GAL, LASZLO, 1933-

Laszlo Gal fonds. - 1979-1991. - 8 m of textual record and graphic material.

Biographical Sketch

Graphic designer and illustrator of children's books, Laszlo Gal was born in Hungary in 1933. He graduated with an art education diploma and taught in Budapest for three years, immigrating to Canada during the Hungarian Revolution (1956). Gal lived in Toronto and worked as a dishwasher, waiter, sign painter, artist of political portraits for the editorial page of the Globe and Mail, layout artist, and finally was hired as a graphic designer for the CBC (1958-65). While vacationing in Italy, he presented his illustrations to the famous publishing house, Arnold Mondadori. Working on speculation, he produced 60 illustrations for El Cid and eventually received a contract to work exclusively on Mondadori children's books. He lived in Verona for four years (1965-69), illustrating two full-colour books a year for Mondadori. Returning to Canada in 1970, he began free-lance illustration. In partnership with William Toye, he illustrated Cartier Discovers the St. Lawrence, which launched his career as a Canadian illustrator.

Gal has illustrated over 40 children's books, published in Spain, France, the United States, as well as, in Italy and Canada. Among his numerous awards are the 1978 IODE Book Award for Why the Man in the Moon Is Not Happy and Other Eskimo Tales of Creation; My Name Is Not Odessa Yarker and The Shirt of the Happy Man. In 1980, he received the Canada Council Award for Children's Literature and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for his work on Janet Lunn's The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which he worked on for two years.

Gal's intricate drawings and paintings reflect the art of the period in which the story is set, allowing it to influence his choice of medium, composition and technique. Eva Martin's collection Canadian Fairy Tales (1984), reflects the artistic style of Europe adapted to a Canadian setting. The Chinese legend The Enchanted Tapestry (1987), is done in the style of Chinese landscape painting. A Flash of Sea Water (1989) is illustrated in the style of Persian miniatures to complement the text of poet, P.K. Page. Gal has illustrated his own texts of folktales, Prince Ivan and the Firebird (1991) and The Parrot: An Italian Folktale (1997). Laszlo Gal is considered one of Canada's most highly esteemed illustrators.

Scope and Content

The Laszlo Gal fonds includes illustrations, sketches and tracings for The Twelve Dancing Princesses (1979), Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid (1983), and Canadian Fairy Tales (1984). Typescripts for The Little Mermaid and Canadian Fairy Tales contain annotations by the artist. A second accession added correspondence and other working documentation and original illustrations for Iduna and the Magic Apples by Marianna Mayer (1988) and Sea Witches by Joanne Robertson (1991).

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Laszlo Gal in 1986 and 1992. [1986-03, 1992-02]

Language: textual material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: no restrictions on consultation.

Finding Aid: preliminary finding aid available.

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