If we are to judge creative work on the quantity someone produces alone then Charles M Schultz, having hand-written, drawn and lettered 17,897 Peanuts comic strips in his lifetime, is surely one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. That the amount of his labour is matched by the sheer quality of his work surely puts that title well within his reach.
He wrote this about one of the main characters in the comics, Lucy – “She’s annoyed that it’s all too easy. Charlie Brown isn’t much of a challenge. To be consistent, however, we have to let her triumph, for all the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes, and the football is always pulled away.”
It’s the reason Peanuts has lasted for so long – we all recognise life’s aches and pains as felt by all the characters, but in particular, the ‘everyman’ Charlie Brown. Schultz knew that there are never any easy answers to life’s existential questions. Things may not work out exactly as we might want, but whatever misfortune befalls us, we still have to remain willing to learn.
A major new exhibition at Somerset House, GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! brings together Charles M. Schulz original Peanuts cartoons with work from a wide range of acclaimed contemporary artists and designers who have been inspired by the highly influential and much-loved cartoon.
25 Oct 2018 – 03 Mar 2019
£14.00 / £11.00 concessions, Under 12s free