Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty-five years. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities. She has written and illustrated children's books including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate, and Swami on Rye. She often illustrates for The New Yorker magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the New Yorker cover in 2001. Recent projects include Weather, Weather and Beloved Dog. She has also published The Elements of Style (illustrated) and two monthly on-line columns entitled Principles of Uncertainty (2006-07) and The Pursuit of Happiness (2008-09) for The New York Times. During 2010-12 she authored or illustrated four books including Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, and Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up.
Maira Kalman has had ten exhibitions at the Julie Saul Gallery since 2003. The most recent The Elements of Style and Darling Dorset in 2017. In 2010, The Institute of Contemporary Art organized a retrospective of Kalman's work, entitled Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World), which traveled to The Jewish Museum (New York, NY), the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), and the University of Pennsylvania.
She lives in New York and walks a lot.