Published: November 20, 2012
“Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D,” opening November 23 at Brandywine River Museum, presents the wondrous world of pop-up books. With pages that spring open to reveal pictures that self-construct into three-dimensional illustrations, the pop-up form is used for an infinite variety of subjects for both children and adults, ranging from classic tales and elementary instruction to bible stories and scientific topics.
For centuries, illustrators and book designers have been intrigued with the notion of creating pages with pictures that move via hidden mechanisms. Revolving pieces, flaps, levers and pop-ups provide energy to move illustrations on the page, surprising readers with the unexpected action.
The genre has attracted noted artists/illustrators like Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and Tomie dePaola. These artists worked with paper engineers †specialists who devise the complicated plan of pieces and folds that creates the pop-up. Other artist/illustrators, such as Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, create both the art and the intricate pop-up mechanisms. The exhibition also features books by other contemporary pop-up book masters David Carter, Chuck Fischer, Bruce Foster and Chuck Murphy.
Pop-up books first appeared in England and Germany in the late Nineteenth Century. Examples of these and American turn-of-the-Twentieth Century publications introduce the exhibition. Later books from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s reflect each time period’s unique charm.
The modern era of pop-up books began in the 1960s, when innovative pop-up books from Czechoslovakia inspired several American creators, and sparked a renewed interest in pop-ups that continues to the present day.
The exhibition is largely drawn from the collection of Ann Staples, founder of The Movable Book Society. Late Nineteenth Century books are lent by Special Collections at the University of Delaware. Other key lenders are the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust and modern pop-up masters Chuck Fischer and Robert Sabuda, who have lent art work and mock-ups to help visitors understand the complex process of creating a modern pop-up book. These special loans show the multiple pieces that come together to form an intricate three-dimensional illustration.
“Pop Up! Illustration in 3-D,” continues through January 6, and is part of “A Brandywine Christmas” when the museum celebrates the season with holiday displays including an extensive O-gauge model railroad, jewelry inspired by Andrew Wyeth paintings and thousands of whimsical “critter” ornaments on holiday trees.
The Brandywine River Museum is on US Route 1. For information, 610-388-2700 or www.brandywinemuseum.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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