As we wrap up this Wizard of Oz art appreciation week, it would be silly not to pay homage to the illustrator who kicked off the Oz drawings William Wallace Denslow all the way back in 1899.
Denslow may have met Baum at the Chicago Press Club; both men were members. Besides The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Denslow also illustrated Baum’s books By the Candelabra’s Glare, Father Goose: His Book, and Dot and Tot of Merryland. Baum and Denslow held the copyrights to most of these works jointly.
After Denslow quarreled with Baum over royalty shares from the 1902 stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, for which Baum wrote the script and Denslow designed the sets and costumes, Baum determined not to work with him again. (As co-copyright-holder, Denslow demanded an equal share in royalites with Baum and composer Paul Tietjens.)
The royalties from the print and stage versions of The Wizard of Oz were sufficient to allow Denslow to purchase an island off the coast of Bermuda, and crown himself King Denslow I. However, he drank his money away, and he died in obscurity, of pneumonia.
Take the jump for more of King Denslow’s work.