Hello! It was suggested to me on other subreddits that my request is very up your alley here and that I should share it with the hopes that you knowledgeable folks may have some insight into this mystery and that we may, collectively, find an answer.
Why is it that in this current year of 2023, no one seems to know who the cover artist is for this iconic Dell Laurel-Leaf A Wrinkle in Time cover art?? In a time when we have so much information available to us at our literal fingertips, how could it possibly be that the above marvelously and terrifyingly iconic imagery is perpetually credited to “unknown artist”? Even the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, always an excellent and trusted resource, does not have an answer.
Ok, so if you are anything like me, you will immediately be moved to do some reverse image searching through various internet search engines and see what you can find out, and I won’t stop you, but I promise you, I have already done massive amounts of internet amateur sleuthing. You’re not going to find the answer in the myriad “A Wrinkle in Time covers, ranked” listicles – they will list artists like Ellen Raskin, or Leo and Diane Dillion in connection to the various editions of this book–if they share any of the names of the cover artists at all–but they are all ultimately useless because no one credits the artist for this particular cover.
You may find a blog post wherein the writer thoughtfully speculates that it could be this artist or that, deliberating and debating the nuances of various artists’ styles and settling upon the theory that the artist could be Charles Lilly. That blog post ends with the blogger noting they will contact the artist and report their findings. Strangely, that blog post is only found in the internet archive, despite the fact that the blog itself is still available online and is updated as recently as this year. There is no way to leave a comment for the blogger, and there is no contact information, so I messaged them on Twitter to find out if they did indeed reach out and if they received an answer.
So in lieu of that, if it is, in fact, Charles Lilly, you figure you can bypass the middleman in this instance and reach out to the artist yourself with an email address you find on the African American Painters website, but that would be too easy, and the email bounces back. So you find the artist on Facebook, which you are not going to link to, because that feels a little like encroaching on someone’s boundaries of privacy, but it’s easy enough to find if you look for it. And there is no contact info there, so you send a DM politely inquiring. To date, you have not received a response.
You hear from someone that they saw on a Reddit thread that it could possibly be Michael Whelan. You’re so desperate for answers you don’t even check first to see if this Reddit thread exists, you go straight to Micheal Whelan’s website and send a note through the contact form. You receive a response immediately replying that Whelan “hasn’t illustrated anything for Madeleine L’Engle” and agreeing that yes, this is quite the mystery, and have you seen the blog post speculating whether or not it is Charles Lilly?
You receive a message on Instagram five minutes ago suggesting that it is perhaps The Brothers Hildebrandt. You send a message through their contact form and also message the remaining brother on Facebook. [EDIT: I have since heard back from Spiderweb Gallery, it is not The Brothers Hildebrandt.]
Finally, you send a message through the contact form and the various email addresses listed at madelinelengle.com as a last resort, even though, in retrospect, maybe that should have been your first move.
TLDR; I am trying to track down the artist of the Dell Laurel Leaf cover of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. For some reason, it's been very difficult to find the answer, which I find so curious and frustrating in the year 2023 when we have so much information available to us. It is noted everywhere as "unknown artist" which is really a shame for a piece of art so iconic and in fact so meaningful to all the little minds that devoured this story and grew up with this imagery emblazoned in their hearts. If you have any answers/ideas/or leads for me, it would be greatly appreciated! I have written a blog post about this ongoing investigative saga and will be updating with each new piece of information I uncover.