Not to be confused with Leonard Weisgard, who illustrated the original
1947 edition of Margaret Wise Brown's book.
Born in Buenos Aires, she lived in NYC, White Plains (NY), Paris, and, starting in the 1980s, Vaud, Switzerland. She died in Geneva, on Sept. 27th.
Her grandfather was the writer/poet Rafael Obligado.
When she was ten, Walt Disney himself showed her some pencil drawings that were tests for his new work, "Bambi." That was when she decided she wanted to paint.
She first married a man 20 years older. He died six months later. In the 1960s, she married a Hungarian nobleman - a Unesco official to Latin America.
Incredibly, searching on her name, plus 2021, did NOT reveal her death or obituary; I only stumbled on it because I happened to search on...her birthplace!
There are some read-alouds of her books on YouTube.
(in Spanish - it mistakenly claims she was 91)
"Assisted by her children, Cristina and Sigismond de Vajay -plastic artist-, and while her body was losing strength, she waited for death, escaping from bed at times to sip a brandy under a fresh lime tree that invited her to review her life. She had just turned 90: that day she allowed herself to be photographed holding gigantic golden balloons.
"...In the years that followed, Obligado went on to illustrate some 130 children's books , and even one written by the most important man in his life, his father, entitled The Gaucho boy. Work of causality -or magic?-, death would reach her just on September 27, the same date on which he was born.
"Obligado was a direct descendant of the writer Rafael Obligado – her grandfather –, although she was also part of a lineage of female artists: María Obligado, Rafael's sister, was a painter, and her niece is the writer Clara Obligado.
"The author, who lives in Spain, thus evoked the indelible impact that the image of the young Lilian produced in her childhood: 'She came in laughing, transmuted things, made them light and disappeared again. She had a cat face, an easy laugh, a petite and spectacular body, dark wavy hair like Ava Gardner's. She was distinguished by an "unspeakable feeling of freedom," ' defined the writer.
"...The artist published her first drawings in 1956, and it was also during those years that she settled in New York, where she began her most fruitful artistic stage: we must imagine her, then, crossing the internal corridors that linked offices and even buildings on Fifth Avenue , in New York, even with a drink in hand. 'I did them all,' she said, smiling, in an interview she gave to this newspaper three years ago.
"During that time she worked for publishers such as Viking, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Golden Press, Western Publishing, Holiday House, Guild Press, Doubleday, Abelard, Flammarion and Gallimard. She also wrote short stories and adaptations of classic stories.
"The Argentine public looked at her vignettes, comics and paintings from the great retrospective that the National Historical Museum dedicated to her in 2017. It was then that many of us recognized her stamp, characteristic of the covers of widely circulated children's books in the 70s and 80 in our country: impossible to remain indifferent to the beauty of those compositions that will surely make her a cult artist over time."
(LONG tribute written just a week before her death - there's some overlap with the obit)
"...Until, in the 1960s, she decides to return to the United States, and settle in New York: then, she undertakes the challenge of going out knocking on doors with her portfolio under her arm.
"Luck played in her favor : 'I was sitting in a waiting room, waiting for a publisher to receive me – she said – when I saw her come out and argue loudly because a cartoonist had left a half-finished book. At one point he turned around and, knowing that I had my drawings, asked me if I dared to finish that book in two weeks, something that seemed to be of vital importance to them. I was in the Simon & Schuster publishing empire, but I still said yes.'
"The book is called Animals and their Babies (by Barbara Shook Hazen), and it came out in 1961: from then on her career would skyrocket to success: 50 years of professional life, which extended to the edge of this century..."
(obit in French, by her niece)
(in Spanish, from 2017, written by her niece - fascinating!)
(14-minute radio interview from 2017 - in Spanish)
(in Spanish, from 2017 - it includes book covers and an old color photo of Obligado, maybe from the 1960s)
(in Spanish, about a 2017 exhibit of her work, with a photo of Obligado)
SELF-ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Little Wolf and the Upstairs Bear, Viking, 1979.
Nursery Rhymes, Golden Press, 1980.
The Little Red Hen, Western Publishing, 1981.
Faint Frogs Feeling Feverish: And Other Terrifically Tantalizing
Tongue Twisters, Viking, 1983.
Over in the Meadow: An Adaptation of the Old Nursery Counting Rhyme,
Golden Press, 1983.
If I Had a Dog, Golden Press, 1984.
Guess the Animal, Western Publishing, 1990.
The Chocolate Cow, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.
Barbara Shook Hazen, Animals and Their Babies, Golden Press, 1959.
Elspeth Bragdon, One to Make Ready, Viking, 1959.
Carol Kendall, The Big Splash, Viking, 1960.
Charlotte Zolotow, The Little Black Puppy, Golden Press, 1960.
Carl Memling, Little Cottontail, Golden Press, 1960.
Anne Heathers, Four Puppies, Western Publishing, 1960.
George Obligado, The Gaucho Boy, Viking, 1961.
Herbert Best, Desmond the Dog Detective: The Case of the Lone
Stranger, Viking, 1962.
Vivian Laubach Thompson, Sad Day, Glad Day, Holiday House, 1962.
Ruth Hannon, Three Good Friends, Guild Press, 1962.
Patricia Scarry, The Wait-for-Me Kitten, Golden Press, 1962.
Bryna Ivens Untermeyer and Louis Untermeyer, editors, Beloved Tales,
Golden Press, 1962.
Bryna Ivens Untermeyer and Louis Untermeyer, editors, Fun and Fancy,
Golden Press, 1962.
Louis Untermeyer, The Kitten Who Barked, Golden Press, 1962.
Helen Kay (a pseudonym), The House of Many Colors, Abelard, 1963.
Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth, Jock's Island, Viking, 1963.
Irmengarde Eberle, The Raccoon's Young Ones, Abelard, 1963.
Charlotte Zolotow, The White Marble, Abelard, 1963.
Anne H. White, A Dog Called Scholar, Viking, 1963.
Jean Bothwell, The Mystery Gatepost, Dial, 1964.
Elspeth Bragdon, There Is a Tide, Viking, 1964.
Margaret Adair, Far Voice Calling, Doubleday, 1964.
Alberta Eiseman, Candido: A Story, Macmillan, 1965.
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