A Message from Chris Van Allsburg
Twelve years have passed since this introduction appeared in the portfolio
version of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
In 1984, I wrote the following as an introduction to The Mysteries of Harris Budick.
I am sorry to report that twelve more years have not provided any additional clues about Burdick. They have, however, provided me with many more stories. These are sent to me by readers who, when inspired by Burdick's mysterious pictures, have become writers.
This response to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick delighted Peter Wenders, who cared so much about the drawings and believed in their power to stir the imagination.
Sadly, this gentleman of letters and friend of mine passed away in the summer of 2000 at the ripe old age of 91. Over the years, I'd sent him hundreds of Burdick stories, and I believe he read every one. My final visit with him was just a few months before he died. He was still eager to discuss different versions of "Mr. Linden's Library" and "The Seven Chairs" (his two favorite images).
He also seemed eager to talk about Burdick's visit to his office on that fateful day back in 1954. It was as if he knew that with his passing, the memory of Burdick would also die, and he wanted that memory to live on with me.
For the first time I heard details about Burdick's appearance—his fedora hat, an overcoat, and the round glasses that rested atop a prominent nose.
Recently, while looking at the huge stack of stories piling up in my studio (I can no longer send them to Wenders), an idea came to me. I thought a website devoted to Burdick could be an effective way to share the stories that his work continues to inspire.
So, with the description provided by Wenders, I created an image of the mysterious Mr. Burdick and set up this website with the hope that visitors will accept the challenge of solving The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.