A Gallery of Imagination: The Art of Ralph McQuarrie Souvenir Exhibit Book
The name Ralph McQuarrie will forever be synonymous with Star Wars. It was his keen eye, vivid imagination and artistic renderings that first brought to life the worlds and words of George Lucas’ script while the young director was pitching his film idea to studios.
The amazing collection that was on display for the first time at Star Wars Celebration V is made up of more than 100 pieces from McQuarrie’s personal collection – some of which had been forgotten for decades. Just months after publication of The Art of Ralph McQuarrie – which was designed to be a comprehensive, career-spanning retrospective of the legendary artist’s work – McQuarrie himself discovered a large, forgotten folder of art when some cabinets needed to be moved to access the failing furnace.
McQuarrie inadvertently had stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of designs, sketches and concepts that literally had not seen the light of day – in any form – since they’d been laid aside decades ago. Since a second edition of the lavish hardcover book so soon after the first impressive volume was out of the question, there was no venue to showcase this tremendous find. Until now.
The original works that were on display in the exhibition include character, creature, spaceship, weapons and planet designs, as well as numerous thumbnail sketches and original pencil drawings that were used in the making of the iconic Star Wars production paintings, Christmas cards and other items. Most notable, however, is the inclusion of the very first Star Wars sketches Ralph ever created – the day he received the original script from Lucas.
Some of the work will seem familiar, since it led to McQuarrie’s iconic production paintings. While none of the original artwork from the Lucasfilm Archives was on display, in some cases the exhibit includes reproductions of those paintings to show the evolution from initial thumbnails to finished pieces.
McQuarrie’s incredible, imaginative and influential Star Wars art has been seen around the world and still continues to be an inspiration to artists today.
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