In 2000, Sendak had been invited to design a cow for the CowParade project. CowParade bills itself as “the largest and most successful public art event in the world.” For anyone who has beheld colorful cattle statues dotting the streets of Chicago, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, or any of the many cities that have hosted them, they are indeed unforgettable. The version Sendak created, with help from Lynn Caponera, is a runt, measuring only 27” x 17.5” x 7.5.” In 2003, “Moo-Reese” was displayed at the premiere of the Chicago Opera Theater’s Brundibár, an adaptation of Hans Krása's Czech opera that Sendak worked on with Tony Kushner. (Sendak did the set designs and costumes for this and several other operas and ballets, something that will be explored in a summer exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City.)
After the show closed, Sendak’s tabletop ruminant was auctioned online by Sotheby’s. It has been offered twice at Sotheby’s since that original sale, but the estimates seem to have dissuaded buyers. Still, there is a reserve of $75,000 at the Heritage Auctions sale coming up on March 6.