On Saturday, October 14, 2013, the Farnsworth Art Museum, in downtown Rockland, Maine, will open an exhibition entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, drawn from the largest collection of Oz material in the world. The exhibition will run through Spring 2014 in the museum’s Crosman Gallery.
Lyman Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, quickly became one of the country’s best-selling children’s books. It was eventually translated into several foreign languages and gained worldwide popularity. Its greatest success, however, was the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, in which she made the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow a national hit. In 2014, on the 75th anniversary of the film, Warner Brothers will rerelease The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. To celebrate the anniversary, the Farnsworth will present an exhibition that will help bring to life one of America’s most beloved movies and all its characters. The show will include one of Dorothy’s dresses, the only surviving complete munchkin costume, examples of the many illustrated versions of Baum’s books, movie posters, and a remarkable array of Oz memorabilia, all from the Willard Carroll and Tom Wilhite Collection.
Carroll’s fascination for Oz began as a young boy after seeing the 1939 movie on television, spurring a collecting bug that is still with him. He also made his passion part of his professional work: he has authored three Oz-related books and created The Oz Kids animated movie series for Paramount. A graduate of the USC School of Cinema and Television, he began his career in the story departments at ABC Motion Pictures, Orion Pictures, and Zoetrope Studios before joining Walt Disney Pictures as a development executive. He is an Emmy Award-winning producer who wrote and directed Miramax’s all-star drama, Playing by Heart, with Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Dennis Quaid, and Jon Stewart. Most recently Carroll wrote and directed the romantic musical comedy, Marigold, starring Ali Larter and Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, filmed entirely in Indiana. He is in pre-production for his original psychological thriller, Crawl. Previously Carroll directed his adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s classic English children’s novel, Tom’s Midnight Garden, starring Greta Scaachi and Joan Plowright.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a new book by John Fricke on Willard Carroll’s collection. Published by Down East, The Wonderful World of Oz: A Pictorial History of the American Classic is a new, richly illustrated book which will be released in October 2013. In addition, another Oz-related book by Carroll is I Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, the Dog who was Toto, to be released by Abrams in September 2013. The Wonderful World of Oz at the Farnsworth is sponsored in part by The Goose River Exchange. The primary media sponsor of the exhibition is Maine Home + Design.
The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s ongoing role in American art. It offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists, with 20,000 square feet of gallery space and over 13,000 works in the collection. The Farnsworth has one of the largest public collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, while its Wyeth Center features works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The National Register-listed Farnsworth Homestead, the Olson House, a National Historic Landmark, and Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists complete the museum complex. Please visit www.farnsworthmuseum.org for more information on current exhibitions, programs and events.