Known for his series of pop-up adventures using bright colors and folk-artsy-style illustrations, Vojtech Kubasta’s beautifully paper-engineered books have been translated into multiple languages and were read worldwide by children during the 1960s and 1970s.
Highlighted this week by the Libraries is “Table, Lay Yourself!” (1960s), one of Kubasta’s books that has easily assimilated into the world of three-dimensional art and is loved by people worldwide.
“Kubasta is one of the biggest names in the history and evolution of movable books” said Miriam Intrator, special collections librarian.
According to New York Times writer William Grimes, Vienna-born Kubasta, who grew up in Prague and studied architecture and engineering at the Czech Technical University, never intended to become a pop-up artist—but as was true of many Europeans during those times, World War II upended his life and turned his artistic endeavors elsewhere.
“In between, Kubasta’s fertile imagination and restless hand [he] turned out a remarkable volume of work in every conceivable genre: advertising art, government propaganda posters, souvenirs of Prague and Brno, a pop-up Mecca for the Iranian market, a series of children’s counting books, classic fairy tales, a cover illustration for the Czech translation of ‘The Egg and I,’ Christmas nativity scenes, New Year’s cards and an unsigned series of pop-up books tied to ‘Bambi,’ ‘101 Dalmatians’ and other Walt Disney films,” wrote Grimes.
The classic tale written by the Brothers Grimm, “Lay Table Lay!” contains eight cut-away illustrations constructed as a three-dimensional “standing” artwork that is joined accordion-style to the spine of the book.
“The main things I want people to take away from a Kubasta book is knowing they are [not only] looking at a book made by one of the most important people in the history of movable books, but also experiencing the color, and the texture and the depth of the images,” said Intrator. “You may not even notice the text because you are so drawn into the images.”
Here is what you may have missed: “Astronomicum Caesareum;“ The Daily Express;” “Mariners Compass Rectified;” “A Series of Amusing Transformation Scenes; “A Pop-up Guide to North American Wildflowers;” and “Robinson Crusoe.”