Visual Arts

Arty Girl: Elihu Vedder Drawings at Phoenix Art Museum

So I'm a writer, right? At least, that's what I've been telling everyone at these Holiday parties I've been frequenting.

It's only natural that I wouldn't be able to keep myself away from this blog on Christmas Eve.

And while I don't expect any of you to take in an art show tomorrow (you can't matter how desperate you are to get out), you may need something to entertain your guests over the weekend, away from all that hellish wholesome together time.



Phoenix Art Museum's Elihu Vedder's Drawings for the Rubaiyat is sure to please the entire family. The works are ethereal, beautifully rendered and totally non-offensive. There's nothing worse than having to look at uncomfortable artworks with Grandma in tow.

The show, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features 54 drawings made in the 1880's to accompany the wildly popular 12th century Persian poem, the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. The published book, with poetry packed with philosophical ideas that abandon science, religion and mathematics to decipher the meaning of life, along with Vedder's illustrations, sold out in six days and continued to sell - becoming one of the most popular books ever published. It single-handedly revolutionized the publishing industry.


Vedder instantly became known as a master of American art through the ink, chalk, pencil and watercolor illustrations. It's obvious he is an artist of his time, employing the heavily sinuous and curvilinear style, typical to Art Nouveau.

-- Lilia Menconi

"Elihu Vedder's Drawings for the Rubaiyat" runs through February 8th at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, 602-257-1222,

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi