Archive for April, 2013

A Pair of Fairs

Monday, April 15th, 2013

This past weekend  was the 53rd annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Armory in Manhattan.  Those of you who follow my blog, know that I am a big fan of this event and I was excited to attend after I missed it last year when I was attending the Bologna Book Fair.  I love this show because I can see amazing movable and pop-up books from as far back at the 1600’s and most sellers even let me play with them!  I was able to see a an original Robert Sayer’s Harliquinade (the same that was featured in the MBS celebration book) at Justin Schiller‘s booth.  This turn-up format was one of the earliest novelty book formats to entertain an audience.  Later, I came across a fine example of Raphael Tuck’s panoramic book that would unfold to six feet of Victorian fairy tale scenery that the child could then insert different paper characters in the slots to tell a classic or make-up story.  Helen and Marc Younger at Aleph-Bets had many wonderful pop-up and movable books and I zeroed in on a great working example of one of Meggendorfer’s slatted changing picture books.  It was over a 100 years old and still moved smoothly as we admired Lothar’s depictions of naughty boys.  At the next aisle sat Jo Ann Reisler among her delightful collection of children’s books.  She showed me a delightful French pull tab book from the Capendu publisher and I also fell in love with a charming carousel book of Cinderella.  Further down the row, I found a lovely edition of Robinson Crusoe from McLoughlin Bros, where the book is split down the middle and you peel back each page like a curtain at the theater. I came across no fewer than four amazing examples of multi-disc volvelles from as early as 1640 that showed various tables and charts in large astronomy books. I then stopped by Michele Noret, with her colorful French art books and showed her some of my recent acquisitions before I realized that the Fair was almost at an end.  So I checked my map of the 150 exhibitors and found Jacques Desse and Thibaut Brunessaux at La boutique du livre anime, which is always my favorite booth.  They had just sold the original dummy of David A. Carter’s “One Red Dot”, so I was not able to take a peek, but I did get to see the latest creations from the master pop-up artist, UG.  His new book, “Stellations Explosives” was the bomb and I absolutely fell in love with his dynamic “Les Recordmen” artist book that showcased athletes in action.  I was also able to see a few other clever books from Paris, including a striking colorful(!), tacile book of Eric Carle for blind children.  Once again, it looks to me that French publishers are putting out some of the most exciting and well designed children’s pop-up and flat books I have seen.  While I was sharing my insight with Jacques, he showed me some cute unique pop-up cards of houses that was done by a new paper engineer that has graduated from the same highly regarded design college in Strasbourg that produced the artists of “Popville” and other great books.  It seems that this school is really developing some impressive talent and I am curious to learn more about their teaching methods.

Before the fair I met up with pop-up collector,  Dr. Larry Seidman and I shared some of my latest Biedermeier information that I was uncovering in Germany.  We also shared a cab down to the Altman Building for a shadow fair.  The Manhattan Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair was the place were many of the dealers from the Armory were heading to stock up on new books and material.  There I ran into Ellen Rubin, the Pop-up Lady, who was excited to tell me about her upcoming Kubasta exhibit in January.  I also stopped by the SLC based, Red Queen Books where Melissa Sanders showed us some very rare artist books and vintage movables, including a crazy pop-up cat calendar in the shape of a valise.  While this was a smaller group of sellers, the books, posters and photos were equally impressive and I dug through my share of bins and book cases looking for treasures.

All in all, it was a great time and I must thank Larry Seidman for helping make it all possible.  Now I have to start saving my pennies so I can afford some cool items at next year’s fairs.