Moscow; Leningrad: ONTI NKTP SSSR, 1935. Item #1513
164 pp., 30 leaves of plates. 25x18 cm.
One of 3500 copies. Cloth binding. Silhouette of Stalin made of stainless steel on the frontispiece. Foil endpapers. Very good condition. Binding is slightly rubbed. Some foxing on the title page.
This book is a great example of the phenomenon of Soviet photo-books and is well-represented in all the major bibliographies. Two versions of this book were printed in a single print-run: one bound in cloth, the other bound in a bespoke steel sheet specially produced for the book by the factories Serp i Molot [i.e. Hummer and Sickle] and Elektrostal. The same factories produced the stainless steel for the silhouette of Stalin on the frontispiece.
The binding and the template for the silhouette were executed by the typography Krasniy Proletariy [i.e. The Red Proletary]. The color illustrations and inserts were printed separately by other typographies – #13 and #39 printing shops of Mospoligraf. The rest of typographic works were done at 13th typo-zyncography of Mospoligraf.
The design of the book was as complicated as its production. It brought together three of the best people in their fields at the time, specially united for this edition.
The photographs for the book are by Vladimir Gruntal.
The three-color illustrations were done by Mechislav Dobrokovsky.
Solomon Telingator oversaw the whole process and, according to end matter, was responsible for the “polygraphic design”, indicating that he probably constructed the book itself, superintending all aspects of printing and book-production.
The book should therefore be considered the product of both the printing and metal industries of the USSR. In the 1920s the constructivist Alexei Gan regarded the book as an “applied” object, bringing it closer to the people. In the 1930s his ideas transitioned in an interesting way to an industrial focus which reflected the high productivity goals pursued and achieved at this time. The book is a great example of an applied product not made for the masses, and mostly not distributed through bookshops.
The perfect token of 1930s “Quality Steel” it represents the peak of the Soviet design and metal industries, and demonstrates the move away from the constructivist ideas of the 1920s, almost trespassing on the territory of the old enemy, the art for art’s sake movement, opposed by the first Soviet designers.
Vladimir Gruntal (1898–1963) was a Soviet avant-garde photographer and active an contributor to Soviet photo-books. His work on the book of riddles “Chto eto takoe” [i.e. What is that?] (1931) is regarded as one of the most abstract photo-publications of the 1930s. Gruntal is the author of the books “Technique for processing photo illustrations” (1951), and “Photo illustration, light painting, transformation, photomontage” (1966).
Mechislav Dobrokovsky (1895–1938) was a Polish-borne Soviet avant-garde artist. During his early days Dobrokovsky was a friend of Khlebnikov and experimented with the designs for his poetry. During the Civil War he moved to Vladikavkaz, and later to Moscow where he studied in VKHUTEMAS. In the 1920s he was a member of the OST and October groups, and worked for the magazines Dayosh [i.e. Let’s Produce], “Bezbozhnik” [i.e. The Atheist] and “Brigada khudozhnikov” [i.e. The brigade of the artists]. He was arrested in 1938 and charged with espionage on behalf of a counter-revolutionary Polish espionage-terrorist organization of which he was a member. He was executed four months later.
Solomon Telingater (1903–1969) was a Soviet graphic artist, illustrator, printer, typographer, and book designer. He is regarded as one of the most thorough and complex of book constructivists. He worked in book-printing and design from the 1920s to the 1960s, starting with avant-garde letterpress design for “Baku worker” in 1922 and in 1963 he became the first Soviet citizen to be awarded the Gutenberg Prize for the greatest achievement in the art of book design and type.
Karasik, M. Heiting, M. The Soviet Photobook 1920–1941. P. 212.
Price: $9,500.00Status: On Hold