“I can’t conceive of a life without cats.”

Edward Gorey and his cats

Edward Gorey and his beloved cats.

Edward Gorey was born in Chicago on February 22, 1925. His parents would divorce when he was 11 years old. Later, his father would later remarry to a woman who had a small role in the film Casablanca. After his time in the army (1944 – 1946), Gorey went on to study at Harvard. He spent only one semester in an official art school and called his formal training in art “negligible.”

By 1953 Edward Gorey was illustrating book covers. He produced more than 100 works of his own and he did illustrations for several very famous authors; T.S. Elliot, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf,Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, John Updike and many more. The New York Times printed his illustrations as well. The piece that brought Gorey the most fame was his animated introduction for the PBS show Mystery! He won many awards for his work including a Tony Award for Set Design for the 1977 Broadway production of  Dracula.

“Macbre” is the word most often used to describe Gorey’s style. He liked to draw unsettling images that depicted people of the Edwardian age. One of his books, Gashlycrumb Tinies,  goes through the alphabet using each letter to describe the way each character died. Needless to say, Gorey has a huge cult-like following in the gothic subculture. Several of his works, including all his film reviews for Soho Weekly, are done under pen names that are acronyms for his name.

“Books. Cats. Life is good.”

In his personal life Gorey was very introverted and eccentric. He rarely granted interviews to the press. Though his books were loved by children, he never desired to marry or to have any children. He considered himself to be asexual. He enjoyed reading (he couldn’t get enough of books), going to the ballet, watching and reviewing films, watching soap operas and the Golden Girls, and spending time with his cats (he had at least 5). He had a great love for animals. When Gorey died in 2000, he left his entire estate to animal charities, including an animal rescue that serves cats and dogs.

His love for his cats inspired many of his works of art. Books and cats were the two things he professed that he could not live without. Below are a gallery of images of his work found throughout the internet. Normally there would be an explanation of each piece of art, but Gorey’s work needs no explanation. Click the pictures to enlarge them.