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Popups - They're Not Just For Kids!

The Harold M. Goralnick Pop-up Book Collection - An Exhibition

Pop-up Practitioners

Harold Goralnick’s pop-up collecting interests have centered on the work of numerous important and influential book designers and paper engineers.  In addition to Ernest Nister, Lothar Meggendorfer, and Julian Wehr, contemporary engineers Ib Penick, Matthew Reinhart, David Pelham, Ron van der Meer, Kees Moerbeek, Jan Pieńkowski, Bruce Foster, and others are well represented in the collection.

Four pop-up engineers are particular favorites of Mr. Goralnick: Vojtěch Kubašta, Robert Sabuda, Keith Moseley, and David A. Carter.  Some of their works are featured below.

Vojtěch Kubašta (1914-1992).

Born in Vienna, Kubašta’s family moved to Prague when he was four years old, and he remained there for all of his life.  He trained as an architect and engineer, but from the 1940s on he worked as a commercial artist and book designer, often insinuating 3-dimensional features into those commercial jobs.  Beginning in the 1950s, he also created annual folded paper Christmas crèches, richly colored and intricately designed.

In 1956 he designed his first pop-up book, Red Riding Hood.  This and most of his subsequent works were published by ARTIA, a state-owned Czechoslovakian distributer and publisher that subsequently contracted with various western European publishers to distribute his works in numerous languages, especially English and German.  Despite strained relations between East Bloc countries and the U.S., Kubašta was given permission in the 1970s to work with Disney (a long-held ambition) on several spin-off books, but anonymously.

With over 100 titles to his credit, Kubašta’s works have appeared in thirty-seven languages, selling more than thirty-five million copies.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo.  [Prague?:  s.n., ca. 1960].
For years, beginning in the 1950s, Kubašta created an annual crèche to celebrate the Christmas season.  Crèches (from the French word meaning “crib”) are artistic representations of the Nativity scene, often staged or represented 3-dimensionally.
Designed to be unfolded from a compact flat rectangle, this piece is structured in an accordion fold format to pop-up as a diorama (for table top display).
Because many of Kubašta’s crèches are quite large, the diminutive size of this undated example and its extremely poor quality cardboard backing suggest that it is among his earlier specimens.
Red Riding Hood.  London:  Bancroft, 1961 (printed in Prague).
Red Riding Hood was Kubašta’s first pop-up book, published in Prague by ARTIA in 1956.  Shown here is a 1961 reprint, still in its original packaging.  Despite being published and distributed in England (as most of his works were), the edition was printed and assembled in Czechoslovakia.
How Columbus Discovered America.  London:  Bancroft & Co. 1961 (ARTIA [Prague]).
One in the Westminster Books “Panascopic Model Series,” characterized by large format, text stapled within, and a double page pop-up of considerable size.
The Polar Station / La station polaire.  London:  Bancroft & Co. [196-?] (ARTIA [Prague]).
Two paper toy figures are included in the diorama.  The pop-up is illustrated on both sides, with the verso showing a mono-chromatic winter view.
Snow White.  London:  Bancroft, 1960 (ARTIA [Prague]).
Tip + Top + Tap Look at Ships.  London:  Bancroft, 1964 (ARTIA [Prague]).
Shown here is the cover of the 1964 edition and a pop-up from a later reprint (1986) that was titled All at Sea.
Tip + Top + Tap chez les dragons.  Paris:  Del Ducca, 1964 (ARTIA [Prague]).
Although many of Kubašta’s books illustrated fairy tales, the characters Tip and Top (and their dog Tap) were his own invention.   He published eight books featuring Tip and Top, most of them centered on some mode of transportation.  This story about dinosaurs diverges from that formula.  The work was also published in English and Dutch.

Keith Moseley.

Self-trained as a commercial artist, contemporary British paper engineer Keith Moseley made his first pop-ups in the late 1950s for Bancroft, the London firm that also distributed Kubašta’s works.  In the mid-1970s, he relocated to California to work for Waldo Hunt’s Intervisual Communications, then America’s most prolific and prestigious producer of pop-up books.

Subsequently, Moseley became a free-lance designer, eventually forming his own pop-up production company (Compass Productions) with another former Intervisual Communications paper engineer, Dick Dudley.

Today, Moseley continues to produce exquisite pop-ups from his home in North Yorkshire.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Hiawatha.  New York:  Philomel Books, 1988 (Compass Productions).
“Illustrated in three dimension by Keith Moseley.”
The Poetry of Flowers.  New York:  Abrams, 1992 (Compass Productions).
Illustrated by Patricia Whittaker; created and paper engineered by Keith Moseley.
Flight: Great Planes of the Century.  New York:  Viking, 1985.
Illustrated by William S. Phillips; concept, design and layout by Keith Moseley; paper engineering by David Rosendale and Rodger Smith.
Dinosaurs: A Lost World.  New York:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984 (Intervisual Communications).
Illustrated by Robert Cremmins; devised and designed by Keith Moseley.
Dragons: A Pop-up Book of Fantastic Adventures.  New York:  Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006.
Illustrated by M.P. Robertson.

Robert Sabuda (1965-   ).

American-born, a graduate of the Pratt Institute, and trained as a children’s book illustrator, Sabuda found his early inspiration in pop-up books from the works of Vojtěch Kubašta and made books as a hobby in childhood.  He published his first pop-up books in 1994, including one that he authored under the pseudonym “Thomas Beach.”  Since then his award-winning designs have won him a deserved position at the pinnacle of contemporary paper engineering.

Sabuda issues modestly priced works in high print runs (as many as 300,000 copies), often working in partnership with Matthew Reinhart.  In his recent works, kinetic elements like spinning parts are often incorporated into the pop-up action.

The Christmas Alphabet.  New York:  Orchard Books, 1996.
“Dimensional Limited Edition.”
The Christmas Alphabet, Sabuda’s first published pop-up book, appeared in 1994 and was awarded the Gold Medal by Dimension Illustration Awards and the 1998 Meggendorfer Prize.  Its popularity has resulted in several subsequent editions, including this deluxe version, a boxed set that includes an added portfolio containing a wreath paper sculpture.
Thomas Beach [pseudonym].  Creepy, Crawly Halloween Fright.  Long Beach, Calif.:  Troll Associates, 1994.
Among Sabuda’s early books, this is the only one that he published as the pseudonymous “Thomas Beach.”  The book was produced by Keith Moseley’s Compass Productions.

The Movable Mother Goose.  New York:  Little Simon, 1999.

Winter’s Tale: An Original Pop-up Journey.  New York:  Little Simon, 2005.
Simple text and pop-up illustrations describe the animals and landscapes encountered on a particular winter’s day.
Tommie dePaola’s Brava Strega Nona!  New York:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008.
Paper engineering: Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.

David A. Carter (1957-   ).

After an early career in graphic design and commercial art, Carter joined Waldo Hunt’s Intervisual Communications as an artist and paper engineer for a decade until, in 1987, he struck out on his own as a freelance author, illustrator, and book designer.  Since then he has produced or illustrated close to eighty books for children and adults, often in collaboration with other paper engineers, authors, and illustrators, including his wife, Noelle Carter.

Carter is especially known for his pop-up series on “bugs” and “colors.”  His works have become increasingly vibrant in color and complex in function, sometime using rubbing paper parts to add sound to the reading experience.

Love Bugs.  New York:  Little Simon, 1995.
Carter’s “Bugs series” began in 1987 with How Many Bugs in a Box?, a lift-the-flap counting book.  He designed a pop-up version in the following year, and he has now created over thirty “Bugs” titles, like School Bugs, Jingle Bugs, Birthday Bugs, Bed Bugs, and Love Bugs.
Carter has also issued a “Color series,” featuring complex structural elements, very little text, and an aesthetic that appeals to all ages.  Those books are featured in the “Colors and Counting” section of this exhibition.
Glitter Critters.  Los Angeles:  Piggy Toes Press, 2003.
Robert Beer’s Tibetan Buddhist Altars: A Pop-up Gallery of Traditional Art & Wisdom.  Novato, Calif.:  New World Library, 2004.
Paper engineering by David A. Carter.
Robert Tieman’s Quintessential Disney : A Pop-up Gallery of Classic Disney Moments.  New York:  Disney Editions, 2005.
Illustrations by T. Bluth; paper engineering by David A. Carter.
David A. Carter and Peter Seymour.  If Pigs Could Fly: A Pull & Push Pop-up Book.  Los Angeles:  Intervisual Communications, 1988.
Illustrated, designed, and engineered by David A. Carter.
Pull-tabs and pop-ups combine to animate the pages.  On the page shown here, pulling the tab causes a concealed paper construction to “riff” against a stiffer element to produce a fluttering sound.