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A Serious Collection of Fun Books: Pop-Ups Abroad

portrait of Vojtech Kubasta  portrait of Jan Pienkowski  portrait of Kveta Pacovska portrait of Marion Bataille  portrait of Yusuke Ono

Pop-Ups Abroad

ALTHOUGH most of the books in the Dimensional and Artists’ Books Collection are American imprints, the Collection includes numerous books published abroad— notably, pop-ups and movables from eastern European countries. These became popular behind the former “iron curtain” in the late 1950s and 1960s, but their appeal extended to western Europe.

TRAINED as an architect in his native Prague, but unable to find work as World War II was about to commence, Vojtěch Kubašta turned to commercial art and book illustration, which led him to paper engineering and pop-up books. His efforts earned him an international reputation with books translated into 24 languages. Born in Poland, Jan Pieńkowski first learned about the basics of paper engineering from a Polish soldier while hiding in a bomb shelter during the 1939 German invasion. He fled to England with his family and, later, founded a greeting card company and worked as an illustrator of children’s books after graduating from Cambridge. Eventually he turned to movable books, publishing around two dozen popular editions. The Czech paper engineer, Květa Pacovská, worked in graphic design before creating books for her own children and exploring movable elements.

OF COURSE, pop-up and movable book publication have flourished in other locales. From her studio in Paris, Marion Bataille has fashioned a number of bold, innovative pop-up books that have sold well in France as well as the United States.

AND in Japan, Yūsuke Ōno—like Kubašta, a university-trained architect—has relied on laser cutting and architectural software to craft his small but amazing “360” carousel books.

Above, from left to right, Vojtěch Kubašta, Jan Pieńkowski, Květa Pacovská, Marion Bataille,Yūsuke Ōno