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Maira Kalman Pursues Happiness, Avoids the Breezy Manner

Author, illustrator, and designer Maira Kalman was famous for her children's book series and New Yorker cover art when she started the New York Times's And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog as a way to chronicle her trip D.C. for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. At the moment, Los Angeles's Skirball Cultural Center is honoring Kalman in what's the first major museum exhibition of her work (in March, it travels to the Jewish Museum in NYC). Among the pieces culled from a 30-year career are some unbelievably striking depictions of interiors/architecture, rendered in gouache, a waterpaint; it's all befitting of someone who has spoken openly about her appreciation for "the domestic arts." Take "Rajastani Room," above, which ran in the 2005 edition of Strunk & White's famed Elements of Style in a section entitled "Do Not Affect a Breezy Manner." Also in the exhibition: a painting of former Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello that ran in the May/June '08 Departures; a rendering of a Bauhaus-style building in Tel Aviv; a take on one of Kalman's assorted photos of Austrian bedrooms, given to her as gifts from noted graphic designer Stefan Sagermeister; and her representation of the Philip Johnson Glass House, in New Canaan, Conn., which ran in the "People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones" section of Elements of Style. Have a look at the really, truly formidable lot after the jump.

Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery, New York

· And the Pursuit of Happiness [NYT]
· Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) [Skirball]