The collection on display at Pop International Galleries celebrates two decades of The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection by re-releasing previously sold-out works that span his original book illustrations, midnight paintings, and what he called his “unorthodox taxidermy.” Those sculptures, the first edition of which was released in 1999, are mounted creatures’ heads that Geisel originally created with papier-mâché and the beaks, horns, and antlers of real animals (the reproductions are resin casts). He titled them after nonsensical animals, such as Two-Horned Drouberhannis (2001), Kangaroo Bird (2006), and Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn (2005).
Though they never saw the light of day during his lifetime, these sculptures demonstrate that Geisel established his unique vision early on, while he was living in New York in his twenties. He conceptualized the fantastic beasts from the animal parts he’d requested from the Springfield Zoo, in Massachusetts, after the animals passed away. The zoo was part of the park grounds where his father was the superintendent; Geisel spent much of his childhood there. “I think that, in some ways, had a profound effect on him in terms of the animals he created,” Jaffe noted.