Vitebsk, 1921. 64 pp.: ill. 26x17,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Very good, tears of spine and front cover, small holes in front cover (text and image aren’t attracted), unclear contemporary stamp on the first page, some soiling of covers.
The only issue of this edition. One of 1500 copies, according to the back cover. The introduction has information about 500 copies only. Cover lettering and most illustrations were printed by the linocut technique.
A native of Vitebsk, Marc Chagall (1887-1985) had come back to the city in 1917. He was appointed the city commissar of arts, founded the well-known People’s Art School and headed all decoration processes in Vitebsk for the first anniversary of the Revolution. It was his first large-scale project that influenced the life of the entire city during the Civil war. One of the key components of the city image at that time became ROSTA Windows. They echoed the city decoration made by Chagall personally and his assistants.
Vitebsk ROSTA Windows came out in 1919-1921. Apart from propaganda posters, one periodical and various ephemera were published. VitROSTA also organized mass events, established the local school of journalism and even the Theater of Revolutionary Satire. Among contributors were those independently minded artists whom Chagall invited to teach in the People’s Art School - El Lissitzky and S. Iudovin - as well as A. Braizer, A. Ahola-Valo, a director of branch M. Pustynin, writers I. Amskii, I. Bakhrakh, etc. Aiming to create a significant periodical with many authors, a small group of contributors signed their texts in different ways: full names, pseudonyms, initials. Thus, Pustynin also appeared as Darvaldai; Isaak Bakhrakh put initials I.B. and a pseudonym Isbakh below his texts. Apart from these pen-names, there are unidentified ones.
Just like other ROSTA editions across the country (posters and pamphlets) this magazine was printed in a cheap technique of reproduction and in black only. It covered the forms of work of the local branch of ROSTA, the activity of its school of journalism, the chronicle of the most important events and the start of Vitebsk Jewish publishing business. One article was dedicated to ROSTA executive editors and their work with layouts. Another one was written about futurist “oral newspapers” being a kind of streaming news service. Texts are supplemented with linocut caricatures on White generals, priests and lightly anti-utopian pictures of readers.
The edition included text excerpts from local ROSTA posters and plays staged during the 1st agitprop event of the Vitebsk ROSTA. The creation of the Theater of Revolutionary Satire in Vitebsk in 1919 was a unique phenomenon in the activities of information services. The idea of this propaganda, semi-improvised theater came to the director of VitROSTA, poet-satirist Mikhail Pustynin who decided to liven up posters. Chagall was the major designer of farcical performances at this Vitebsk theater, including a revolutionary-burlesque parody “Comrade Khlestakov” that hadn’t been premiered. In 1920, the Theater of Revolutionary Satire also moved to Moscow where Meyerhold started to lead it.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.