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Evelyn Copelman

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Evelyn Copelman (4 September 1919 – 10 January 2003) was the artist who illustrated the 1949 edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for publisher Bobbs-Merrill. She was the first of the "second generation" of Oz artists, who produced new artistic interpretations of Oz stories and characters.

Bobbs-Merrill allowed the original version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with the artwork of W. W. Denslow, to pass out of print in 1944. Five years later, after the paper shortages of World War II had given way to the post-War economic boom, the publisher released a fresh edition of the book, with Copelman's pictures and with the title The New Wizard of Oz. This was the version that a generation of children in the 1950s knew firsthand.

The project was Copelman's first book illustration job. The publisher stated that Copelman's art was "adapted from the famous pictures by W. W. Denslow" — a false claim. Influence from the 1939 film is more easily detected in Copelman's work. In 1956 Copelman revised her artwork for an edition of Wizard released by Grosset & Dunlap.

Copelman also illustrated an edition of Baum's The Magical Monarch of Mo (1947). Later Evelyn Copelman Baker, she was a professional illustrator with many books to her credit. Curiously, she also provided graphic art for the 1953 Department of the Army Field Manual on the "155-mm Howitzer M1 Towed (FM6-81)." In the 1970s she left graphic art for a career in interior design. She died of heart failure in 2003.

Once Baum's book had passed out of copyright and into the public domain in 1956, other artists interpreted the book; in the half century that followed, dozens of new versions appeared.

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