The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

There’s a clandestine world surrounding Ted Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss), the universally adored creator of The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.

The man had secrets.

And from now until Christmas Eve, you can take a peek into the not-so-known side of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning superauthor by checking out The Art of Dr. Seuss at Liss Gallery in Toronto. A retrospective exhibition of more than 40 pieces, it features artwork from Dr. Seuss’s secret personal collection as well as signed prints based on his famous books.

“What most people don’t realize,” said David Reed, Director of Liss Gallery, “is that when Dr. Seuss passed away, they found a hundred rolled up paintings in his studio that no one had ever seen. He was painting at nighttime for his own inspiration for the books. The first thing his wife did with his estate was to create a limited edition collection based on those original paintings.”

According to Reed, youngsters flock to Dr. Seuss’s books because they’re playful and imaginative — but several profoundly adult messages lurk beneath the surface.

“Once you see the secret artworks, you discover that many of them are actually dark,” he said. “They have sexuality in them, they have violence, they have drinking, they have smoking. As an art gallery, we’re so intrigued by that because we really had only seen Dr. Seuss for the fun aspect of his work.”

Before changing mankind with characters like the Grinch and the Lorax, Dr. Seuss had a prosperous career outside of childrens publishing.

“Many people also don’t realize that Dr. Seuss was an amazing political cartoonist in the 1940’s during World War II, and that he worked in print advertising in the 1950’s à la Mad Men, said Reed. He was quite successful at both of those before he really became a full-fledged children’s book writer.”

Should you wish to purchase a piece of Dr. Seuss secrecy, it’ll cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000. But fear not! This show is free and open, open and free. It’s made for art lovers like you and like me. So don’t dart — take part, because art is the ultimate treat for the heart.