Artist Marjolein Bastin to Receive GCA's Lifetime Achievement Award


For years, her delicate, detailed illustrations of nature's beauty have helped millions of Hallmark card-senders reach out to others with messages of caring. And later this month, world-renowned Dutch artist Marjolein Bastin will be honored for all she has done to bring people together through her art with a prestigious LOUIE Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Greeting Card Association (GCA).

The GCA's LOUIE Awards, named for Louis Prang, the lithographer credited with the birth of the Christmas card-sending tradition in the United States, has since 1988 recognized outstanding cards, invitations and announcements marketed in the United States during the previous year. But acknowledging career-long achievement is a first for the trade association, according to GCA President Susan January, vice president of Colorado-based greeting card company Leanin' Tree.

"For 25 years the LOUIEs have been our way to recognize and applaud the extraordinary talent in the greeting card and social stationery industry," January says. "With the new Lifetime Achievement Award we are able to step back and honor individuals who have contributed creativity, artistry and expertise to the business we love not just during the past year, but over the course of a career."

Beloved by fans across the world, Bastin says she is honored by the award and is thrilled that her paintings help people connect. "Through my partnership with Hallmark, I am able to share all the things I love so much with people all over the world," she says. "To know that what I see and experience and express through my paintings helps people build relationships and connect with loved ones is truly a privilege."

"We are gratified to have a lasting relationship with Marjolein and believe she deserves this special honor from the Greeting Card Association," adds Hallmark President and CEO Donald J. Hall, Jr. "Marjolein has delighted our consumers for more than 20 years. Through her art and words, she continues to provide a simple reminder to pause and enjoy the natural world around us."

Bastin and St. Louis-based artist Mary Engelbreit will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the GCA's Silver Anniversary LOUIE Awards gala on May 19 in New York City.

Natural ability

Bastin's prodigious talent was evident even in early childhood. As soon as she was able to hold a pencil and paint brush, Bastin began capturing the beauty of nature in her sketches and paintings. She continued to develop her talent, ultimately attending the Academy of Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands.

Shortly after completing her studies there, her work came to be publicly recognized when she was asked to illustrate an ongoing feature for the popular Dutch women's weekly, Libelle. A Hallmark designer discovered Bastin's artwork while on a trip to Holland in the early 1990s, initiating a relationship that has spanned more than two decades. She routinely hears from consumers enchanted by her cards, stationery and other items, which are among Hallmark's best-selling offerings.

This year, Hallmark introduced an all-new Nature's Sketchbook by Marjolein Bastin card line. It includes 117 cards featuring vibrant florals, landscapes, birds and butterflies. Designed envelopes complement the cards, which are sold exclusively in Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

Internationally she also is known for characters Vera the Mouse and the stories she develops through the world Vera inhabits with her puppy Saar, Mr. Mole the neighbor and other charming woodland creatures.

In addition to their home in the Netherlands, Bastin and her husband enjoy a studio and residence in rural Kearney, Mo., a few miles north of Hallmark's Kansas City headquarters, where the beauty of the Midwestern landscape right outside her window inspires her every day.

The Greeting Card Association is a trade association serving the greeting card and social expression industry. Founded in 1941, the GCA today represents nearly 200 American and international publishers and is committed to celebrating, preserving and promoting the tradition of sending greeting cards.

About Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Hallmark makes the world a more caring place by helping people express what's in their hearts and spend time together - a privilege few other companies in the world enjoy. Hallmark greeting cards and other products are found in more than 39,000 retail outlets in the United States, including the network of flagship Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The brand also reaches people online at and on television through HallMark Hall of Fame original movies and cable's top-rated Hallmark Channel. Worldwide, Hallmark offers products in more than 30 languages available in 100 countries. This privately held company is based in Kansas City, Mo., and is led by the third generation of the founding Hall family.