Moscow: Izdanie avtora, 1925. Item #880
23 pp.: ill. 19,5x13,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Spine and title page restored, signature on cover erased.
First and only edition. One of 1000 copies. Extremely rare.
Edition contains three reproductions of avant-garde headgear designs by Stenberg brothers, including portraits of Phaedra and Hippolyte by Georgii and Theseus by Vladimir. Cover design included the sketch of Phaedra’s head as well.
Racine’s ‘Phèdre’ was premiered by Tairov in 1922 and considered a masterpiece of the avant-garde theater. The stage and costume designs were produced by artist Alexander Vesnin. An author
of this book, Sergei Ignatovich wrote about them: “An overwhelmingly successful solution was an abstract stage design of the tragedy ... unfortunately, the costumes were not associated either with the scenery or tragedy itself. Women’s headgears were excellent - they were totally non-objective. At the same time, men’s figures resembled the antique vase painting and there was no sense of catastrophe”. Interesting that his critical work was supplemented with sketches by Stenberg brothers who jointed Kamerny theater after the premiere of ‘Phaedra’. Invited to create the advertising for a touring theater in 1923, Stenberg duo joined Tairov in realizing his new approach to staging. A tragedy ‘The Storm’ (1924) was designed by three young constructivists - Konstantin Medunetskii and Stenberg brothers - and their debut in Kamerny theater became a breath of fresh air. Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg were the leading artists of this theater until 1931 and designed overall twelve performances in the constructivist style. When Georgii had crashed in a car accident in 1933, Vladimir left the theater. This curious edition shows how Stenberg brothers interpreted Vesnin’s designs for ‘Phaedra’ in 1923 when the latter completely turned to architecture.
Worldcat shows copies in Princeton University, Harvard College and Getty Institute.