[RODCHENKO AND STEPANOVA] Sovkhozy na vsesoyuznoy sel’skokhozyaystvennoy vystavke [i.e. State Farms at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition]
Moscow: Sel’khozgiz, 1941. Item #1626
 pp.: ill., 11 ills. (including folding leaves). 29,5x22,5 cm. In original cloth with blind embossed lettering and design. Rubbed, colored stains on covers and lower and upper margin of some leaves, ink inscription on front flyleaf, some soiling. Otherwise a good and complete copy.
First and only edition. One of 5,000 copies.
Published shortly before the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, this album rounds off the list of pre-war parade editions designed by Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) and Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958).
The visual element built on the ear-of-grain motif points back to the earlier work of art – not a book, but a film – Alexander Dovzhenko’s Zemlya [i.e. The Earth] (1930). In the late 1930s, drawn or photographed ears of grain 'flourished' as a decorative element in books, magazines, and posters. They were used to design Soviet coats of arms, banners, sculptural and molded decor of vestibules and stations of the Moscow Metro. In 1939, the Golden Ear fountain was installed in one of the ponds on the territory of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Grain and ears run as leitmotifs throughout this album. (Karasik, M. The Soviet Photobook, 1920-1941. P. 546).
The edition is divided into sections of state farms raising cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, poultry, grain, cotton, sugar beet, vegetables and fruits, grapes and subtropical crops, stockfeed. The album also includes a section about state farm culture. Photographs and photomontages showcase state farms, their workers and machinery, wheat fields, stock, and constructions built. Colored pictures are only featured in the subtropical section.
Every section opens with a photomontage half-title, either combining related pictures or demonstrating how a particular topic was presented at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. The endpapers feature a photomontage composition of four round pictures from animal farms framed by blossoming branches of a fruit tree. Most sections include a folding leaf or double leaf spread with photographs or photomontages. The last section was intended to gather all topics: large triangle fragments with grain are complemented with fruitful branches; above them, stock pictures are put in circles and decorated with clover flowers. Folding this composition, a reader sees ‘guards’ of the treasures: a monument dedicated to a Red Army soldier with a dog and the sculpture ‘Worker and Kolkhoz Woman’ installed next to the pavilions in 1939.
Worldcat tracks the only copy of the edition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Price: $2,900.00Status: On Hold