A few years ago Jeannie Schulz, widow of cartooning legend Charles Schulz, and the then curator of Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA, kindly invited me to speak there as part of a special show they were having. They were doing a “MAD About Peanuts” exhibit featuring original artwork from all the MAD Magazine parodies and goofs they had done of Peanuts over the years. There were a surprising number of them… Peanuts must have been well loved among the Usual Gang of Idiots as only that would garner such attention. I did a presentation in the auditorium and taught two workshops on caricature to a good turnout of kids. It was a lot of fun, and Jeannie and the folks at the museum were so generous and welcoming. The Lovely Anna and I went sans kids and had a wonderful time.
The museum itself is well worth a stop in if you visit the wine country of California. There is a rotating permanent collection of Schulz originals, some kind of themed exhibit, tons of old and cool toys and even Sparky’s art desk and work area, transported from his nearby studio intact and including even the wood paneling with the groove worn in it from the back of his chair scraping it after countless turns at the board.
I was pursuing the excellent DRAWN! blog and saw a post on the mural seen in the picture above. It was donated to the Schulz museum by the Travnicek family in Colorado in 2001. Schulz and his family lived in the home briefly in the early 50’s. Sparky painted the mural in 1951, which features very early images of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, among other children’s storybook images. The Travnicek’s were told by neighbors, after they had purchased the home from Mrs. Travnicek’s sister, that there existed a wall with an original mural by Schulz that was buried under layers of paint. They painstakingly removed the paint and restored the wall to it’s original splendor. After finding out Schulz was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, they donated the wall to the museum. It was removed intact and resides in Santa Rosa today. Here’s a link to the complete story.
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