For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Mercer
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Fine Art Gets Kid-Friendly In Babar's Museum Of Art At The Gibbes

Exhibition of original Laurent de Brunhoff watercolors from the classic book Babar’s Museum of Art on view September 1– December 31, 2006

(Charleston, SC) – The exhibition Babar’s Museum of Art at the Gibbes Museum of Art presents a great opportunity to experience the fun of museum going as a family.  Original watercolors and studies by Laurent de Brunhoff created for the book Babar’s Museum of Art will be on view September 1-December 31, 2006 at the Gibbes.  The book Babar’s Museum of Art explains how Babar and Celeste turn an abandoned Celesteville train station into an art museum. For the story, de Brunhoff selected 35 of his favorite artists and reinterpreted their works using elephants instead of people. In the book de Brunhoff pays tribute to such artists as Jackson Pollock, Paul Cezanne, Mary Cassat, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso and John Singer Sargent.

The series of Babar books began as the story of Baby Elephant as told to Laurent de Brunhoff’s brother Mathieu by their mother Cecile.  The boys repeated the story to their artist father Jean and asked him to make pictures of Baby Elephant for them.  Jean de Brunhoff gave Baby Elephant the name of Babar and illustrated his adventures.  The resulting works of art were published as the first Babar book, The Story of Babar, printed in 1931.  Jean de Brunhoff wrote five more Babar books before he died in 1937.  Although his son Laurent was only 12 at the time, it was already apparent that he had inherited his father’s talent.  He started writing and illustrating Babar books in 1946 and has continued his father’s legacy ever since. 

The appearance of Babar’s Museum of Art at the Gibbes is made possible by Gibbes, etc., Wachovia Bank, N.A. and Lowcountry Parent.


On Sunday, September 24, thanks to the support of SunTrust, the Gibbes will offer free admission and family art activities from 1-4 pm.  Visitors will be treated to the exhibition Babar’s Museum of Art, and famed artist Jonathan Green will make a special guest appearance!


In keeping with its commitment to education that is accessible to all, the Gibbes is partnering with Title I schools in Charleston County Districts 20 and 23 this fall to offer opportunities for third and fourth grade students to visit the museum free of charge. The partnership provides teachers and students with educational materials related to Babar’s Museum of Art and a guided tour of the museum with a focus on this exhibition. This is exciting experience for local students to enrich their academic program through art.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. 

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.

As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401