PEDAGOGICAL PROJECT (AVANT-GARDE, CZECH MODERNIST.) Sutnar, Ladislav. Original set of woodblocks for Build the Town. 30 pieces [complete], small wooden building blocks, cones, and triangles painted in red, blue, and yellow, some paint chipping, some a bit soiled. [New York, circa 1942] One of a handful of surviving prototypes; from the Sutnar family collection. Estimate: $7,000.00-10,000.00.
Ladislav Sutnar began his career in his native Czechoslovakia as a toy designer and educator. Between 1922 and 1926 he created Factory Town, a set of children’s blocks designed as an educational toy in the spirit of Friedrich Froebel’s blocks. After emigrating to the states, he tried in earnest to find a manufacturer for the set which he re-named less grimly Build the Town. This is one of only a few prototypes created, entirely at Sutnar’s expense, with the hope that the company Cobos/Builders would produce the set, but it was not to be realized. Another major impediment came from lumber companies that could not stop wartime orders to produce the wooden blocks. Despite his best efforts, Sutnar was forced to abandon the project. Build the Town represents an inventive attempt by Sutnar to introduce children to the basic forms, vibrant primary colors, and the creative freedom of design. [source: Swann Galleries, eBay]