Moscow: Partizdat TsK VKP(b), 1936. Item #1415
332 pp.: ill. 32x26 cm. In publisher’s binding, with Lenin’s debossed gold and red portrait on the front cover and gold and red lettering on the spine; chased edges; in original cloth case with a small paper sticker. Professional restoration of the bottom of the spine. Mint, most tissue leaves with names of artworks preserved.
Second edition. 1 of 2,000 copies. Very rare in such condition and case.
Design was supervised by Solomon Telingater (1903-1969), one of the leading figures in Soviet book design. In the 1920s, pioneers of constructivist book design (Klutsis, Lissitzky, Telingater, etc) managed to create whatever design they wanted. Decades later, Telingater focused on crucial printed matters commissioned by the Communist Party.
This biography of Vladimir Lenin was issued with engravings by Pyotr Staronosov (1893-1942), one of the noted representatives of Soviet graphic art. A self-taught artist, Staronosov considered D. Moor his tutor. In particular, Moor strictly sorted Staronosov’s works for the satirical magazine Budil’nik [i.e. Alarm], influencing the formation of his style. Staronosov faced the Civil War in Siberia, where he was arrested by Bolsheviks and sentenced to a year in a concentration camp. While living in Krasnoyarsk, Staronosov worked as a theater designer, and then as a poster artist in the provincial party organization. In Siberia, he acquired some knowledge in the art of engraving and published his first woodcut in the newspaper Krasnoyarskii rabochii [Krasniyarsk Worker] in 1922. Soon, Staronosov moved to Georgia, where he contributed linocuts to various Batumi newspapers. In 1926, he returned to Moscow and became actively engaged in contemporary book design, working alongside V. Favorsky, N. Kupreianov, etc. In 1933, he illustrated the miniature edition of Stalin’s The Results of the First Five Year Plan. Staronosov worked on Kerzhentsev’s book from 1934 to 1936.
The text was written by Platon Kerzhentsev (1881-1940), a journalist, diplomat, party activist, and editor-in-chief of the Maly Sovetskaya Encyclopedia. He laid the foundations of modern time management in the book Organize Yourself. Staronosov was A. Gastev’s opponent on the issue of scientific management. Kerzhentsev adhered to the social, while Gastev advocated the organizational-technical concept of management.
While the text of this book doesn’t differ from previous publications (the first, Lenin’s Life, came out in 1934), this particular edition is completed with remarkable engravings. All of them illustrate the key moments of the book.
Copies are located in LoC, Princeton, Chicago, Michigan Universities, NYPL.