[A WARTIME BIOGRAPHY OF LENIN] Lenin Vladimir Il’ich. Kratkiy ocherk zhizni i deyatel’nosti [i.e. Lenin Vladimir Ilyich. A Brief Outline of Life and Work]
Moscow: Gosudarstvennoye izdatel’stvo politicheskoy literatury, 1944. 247 pp.: ill., 27 ills. 26,5x17 cm. In original cloth with colored lettering and gilt portrait in profile and facsimile of Lenin on front cover; silhouette of Lenin, lettering, and embossed red flags on spine. All edges chased. Very good condition. Minor damage to cover and tear of bottom of spine, soiling of binding.
A high-quality wartime edition published with no date and print run indicated.
According to the similarly designed 1945 biography of Stalin, the cover, title, and layout of this edition were created by the Soviet artist Nikolay Sedelnikov (1905–1994). A VKHUTEMAS graduate, he gained fame for his type design and photomontage compositions. Together with Solomon Telingater (1903-1969) and Nikolay Ilyin (1894-1954), Sedelnikov advocated the concept of a book as a whole and was entrusted with the design of essential books commissioned by the party.
The woodcut initials were created by the prominent Soviet graphic artist Pyotr Staronosov (1893-1942). A self-educated artist, Staronosov considered Dmitry Moor (1883-1946) his tutor. In particular, Moor contributed to forming Staronosov’s style by strictly sorting his works for the satirical magazine Budil’nik [i.e. Alarm]. During the Civil War, Pyotr was in Siberia, where he was arrested by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to a year in a concentration camp. Living in Krasnoyarsk, Staronosov worked as a theatre and poster designer for a provincial party organization. In Siberia, he took up engraving and published his first woodcut in the newspaper Krasnoyarskiy rabochiy [i.e. A Krasnoyarsk Worker] (1922). Soon, Staronosov moved to Georgia and created linocuts for various Batumi newspapers. In 1926, he relocated to Moscow and started working as a book designer alongside such famous engravers as Vladimir Favorsky, Nikolay Kupreianov, and Alexey Kravchenko.
The edition contains reproductions of photographs and numerous large-scale paintings and graphic works by various Soviet artists. An important part of the visual material shows Lenin’s underground life in the summer of 1917 when he was hiding from the Provisional Government. There is also a portrait of Lenin disguised as a stoker in an attempt to escape to Finland in 1917. This photograph was mounted to his forged identification document.
Overall, an important document of the time.
Worldcat shows copies of the edition in LoC, Yale, Columbia, Harvard, California-LA, Stanford, Wisconsin-Madison, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Missouri, Washington, Iowa, South Carolina, Northwestern, Duke, George Mason Universities, Middlebury and Smith Colleges, and NYPL.