In 1812, brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published 86 dark stories that became known as the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The book was presented as children’s literature, but the violent, sexual, and sinister narratives within painted a very different picture. In celebration of older brother Jacob Grimm’s birthday this week, we’re looking at beautifully illustrated retellings of the Grimms’ fairy tales by artists new and old. These stunning artworks prove that the Grimms continue to capture our imagination and curiosity more than 200 years later.
David Hockney — English painter, stage designer, and friend of Andy Warhol — created a series of haunting etchings based on the Grimms’ fairy tales, compiled in the 1969 book Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm with illustrations by David Hockney. Works referenced include The Little Sea Hare, Fundevogel, Rapunzel, The Boy Who Left Home to Learn Fear, Old Rinkrank, and Rumpelstilzchen. The pop art icon’s artworks are devoid of color and focus on surreal spaces and vivid textures — inky shadows, crosshatched architecture, and impenetrable fields of grass.