This scarce and extraordinary picture book is one of only two children’s books known to have been produced by the Hungarian modernist painter and graphic designer, Sándor Bortnyik. (The other is Munchhausen Csodalatos Kalandjai—The Surprising adventures of Baron Munchausen for the Hungarian Youth.) Influenced by Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism and Bauhaus, Bortnyik was a member of the radical modernist Ma group. Bortnyik spent the years 1922–1925 in Weimar, though not at the Bauhaus. When he returned to Hungary, he brought with him the new German ideal of the Gebrauchsgraphiker, a graphic artist who reconciles the commercial with the artistic, an idea which informed his work throughout the 1920s. A critical and influential figure in Hungarian poster and advertising design as well as the founder of an influential private art school, Bortnyik transferred to his children’s book, eventually published in Hungarian, German and English, the aesthetics of poster advertising, producing a picture book which, in the end, could, like an advertising poster, wordlessly transmit its idea.

Published in Leipzig Germany by Alfred Hahns (Dietrich & Sell) in 1929 as DIE WUNDERFAHRT, the English language version of this avant-garde picture book was translated as TATTERS AND SCRAPS. It was printed in Germany and published by the Whitman Press in 1933. I believe this is a first, and perhaps the only, English edition although it is unmarked. Interestingly, in this translation, Bortnyik’s name is written as Bortnyik Sandor.

The book presents the adventures of two paper dolls in toyland--flying their kites, meeting the king, visiting the circus and traveling to the stars. The book measures 7 ½” x 8 ¼”. It is hardbound with a reinforced binding, green cloth over boards, with an applied pictorial of two paper dolls carrying their paper kites on the upper cover. There are brightly colored endpapers featuring the paper dolls riding animals in a magical jungle and thirty-eight unpaginated heavy paper pages including nineteen fabulous, art deco, brightly colored plates.

The book is in good condition with several points to note. The cover illustration is worn with smudging and spots of paper loss. The corners are bumped with some loss to the cloth. The front flyleaf is missing. The front endpaper has several scribbles. I do not know if there was a dust jacket. Please examine the photos and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

While you are here, do enjoy the other children’s books I have available for sale at this time. Thank you for visiting my shop today.

ITEM ID
RL1170
ITEM TYPE
Vintage

Forget Me Not Antiques

1933 Rarity - Tatters and Scraps: Two Paper Dolls in Toy Land by Sanford Bortnyik

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    Sentimental memorabilia, books, sewing treasures and dolls of the 19th and early 20th centuries
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    Susan Voake
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