Fun Diego Family are big fans of Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Not only do we read his books, we have built a collection of his artwork. The week I moved to La Jolla in September 1991, Dr. Seuss passed away. This was one I first found out that Dr. Seuss was a longtime La Jolla resident. This is a guide to Dr Seuss’ San Diego.
Dr. Seuss moved to La Jolla with his first wife in the 1950s. After his wife passed away he married Audrey Geisel in 1968. In 2018, Audrey Geisel still lives in their home high atop Mt. Soledad. We have run into her on several occasions around town.
Legends Art Gallery
When taking visitors to La Jolla one of the places we always like to go is the Legends Art Gallery. While Dr. Seuss is known for his illustrations, many people don’t that he was also a prolific painter and sculptor. Dr. Seuss’ artwork is available at several galleries around the world, but in San Diego Legends Gallery is the place to go. The official site for his artwork is here.
Over the past 15 years we have bought three Dr. Seuss paintings from Roree at Legends. Dr. Seuss also did sculptures, usually of fantasy creatures in what is called “unorthodox taxidermy.” You can buy a book on his artwork called, The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. As a sidenote, we have a book of political cartoons supporting the U.S. in World War II. Dr. Seuss was much more than just a children’s author.
Legends Gallery has some great Dr. Seuss pieces. The first one we bought was a painting called “I Dreamed I was a Doorman at the Hotel Del Coronado.” It is a fairly abstract representation of the Hotel Del, right near downtown San Diego. We bought it because this historic hotel is a San Diego tourist attraction in its own right.
I was amused to find this painting is one of three Dr. Seuss pieces that Liberty Puzzles has made into a high-end jigsaw puzzle. They also made a puzzle out of our second Dr. Seuss painting, “Relaxed in Spite of it All.” The third jigsaw puzzle is the one we want to buy next, “Chase in the Forest.”
There are many different styles of Dr. Seuss artwork. Many of them are adult themed (including some mild cartoon nudity). If you are in La Jolla for any time you will probably relate to Dr. Seuss La Jolla Birdwomen series of paintings. This paintings of birds satirize the lifestyle of the high-class La Jolla socialites.
Dr. Seuss Trees
In visiting La Jolla, you might notice that many of the trees and plants look like they come out of a Dr. Seuss book. It is clear that Dr. Seuss was inspired by his surroundings. The tree across the street from Legends Gallery actually looks like it may have been in one of his books.
The most famous tree is the “Lorax” tree in Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. The Lorax of course is a famous Dr. Seuss book warning about destruction to the environment. The Lorax in Scripps Park is actually a Monterey Cypress native to the California Coast. You can see this tree during our walk around downtown La Jolla Village.
The central library at the University of California -San Diego (UCSD) was built in 1970 and renamed in honor of Dr. Seuss and his wife Audrey in 1995. Shaped like a diamond It is the most prominent building on the campus. For those that know about such things, the library is an example of Brutalist architecture. This was popular in the 1950s to 1970s. SDCCU Stadium (formerly known as Qualcomm or Jack Murphy) is another award winning Brutalist structure in San Diego.
The Geisel Library is a centerpiece of our Stuart Collection walk. Three pieces from the collection are right by the library, including the main entry doors. On the level above the main entry you can find a sculpture of Dr. Seuss and one of his most famous creations, The Cat in the Hat.
Inside the library there are a few pieces of Dr. Seuss’ work on display. However, the main holding, the Dr. Seuss Collection is not generally accessible to the public. Thios collection contains over 8,500 pieces including original drawings, notes, sketches, proofs, drafts, manuscripts, photographs and memorabilia. Researchers can obtain special permission to view items. Otherwise, certain items are on display in the library during the summer and the month of March, which was Dr. Seuss birthday.
Dr. Seuss House
Dr. Seuss lived high above La Jolla on Mt. Soledad. If you know where to look his house is easily visible. The best place to see it is from Pearl Street. This is the location of the start of our downtown La Jolla walk. It also has such restaurants as the Taco Stand (one of the best Mexican places), El Pescador Fish Market (voted one of the best sandwiches in America by Thrillist) and Pizza on Pearl (one of our favorite NY style pizza places).
You can tell his house by its observatory tower. I framed the picture using the 76 gas station at the corner of Pearl and Eads. If you want to closer to his house you can do our hike up La Jolla Space Open Preserve. The house is on the street at the top of the hill.