Libraries Exhibit Showcases Master Illustrator and Engraver Barry Moser

"Huck and Jim" and "Snake" from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Pennyroyal Press, 1985).
Barry Moser: "Huck and Jim" and "Snake" from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Pennyroyal Press, 1985).

Woodcut of Barry Moser self portrait
Wood-engraved self portrait of Barry Moser from In the Face of Presumptions..

In a distinguished career that spans five decades, Barry Moser (b. 1940) has established himself as a premier book designer, a renowned children’s book illustrator, and one of the finest wood engravers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

A retrospective exhibition of his work, “Barry Moser: A Thief Among Angels,” runs through May 31, 2023 in the Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery in the Golda Meir Library on the Milwaukee campus of UWM. Drawn from both Special Collections and the general collections of the UWM Libraries, the exhibit presents examples of Moser’s original wood engravings, illustrations, and his fine press and commercial work from 1976-2007.

Among his fine press books featured are Moby-Dick (1979), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1982), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1985), and Moser’s magnum opus, the folio-sized Pennyroyal Caxton Bible (2000), which took him four years to design and complete its 232 illustrations.

Moser has illustrated nearly 300 works during his career. His trade edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland received a National Book Award for design and illustration in 1983.

“Under the tutelage of the legendary artist and printmaker Leonard Baskin and master printer Harold McGrath, Barry Moser has emerged as one of America’s premier book designers, wood engravers, and fine-press publishers,” observes Special Collections head Max Yela.

“We are very fortunate to have amassed a comprehensive collection of works by this American icon, through direct purchase and transformative donations from Jerry Buff and Jim Horton, to be able to mount this exquisite exhibition of Moser’s work.”

“A Thief Among Angels” was curated, designed, and installed by Olivia Hickner, UWM Special Collections Graduate Intern and UWM School of Information Studies graduate student.

The Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For appointments or more information: or 414.229.4345