[FULL RUN OF THE ORIGINAL LEF] LEF. Zhurnal Levogo fronta iskusstv [i.e. LEF. Magazine of the Left Front of Arts
#1, 2, 3, 4 for 1923, #1, 2 for 1924, #3 for 1925. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1923-1925.
# 1 (1923): 252,  pp.: ill. + 3 pp. of ads. 24x16 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Fragments of spine lost, minor tears of outer edge of p. 215-216, some soiling, small signature on t.p. Otherwise good.
# 2 (1923): 177,  pp.: ill. + 2 pp. of ads. 24x16 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Tears of spine and covers, otherwise very good.
#3 (1923): 40, , 40a, 41-186,  pp.: ill.+5 pp. of ads. 23x15 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Uncut, minor pale water stains on front cover, small tears of spine with small fragments lost. Otherwise very good.
#4 (1923, t.p. dated 1924): 222,  pp.: ill.+ 1 p. of ad. 23x15 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Separated to sections. Fragments of spine lost. Some foxing, pale water stain on front cover and following three leaves. Good.
#1 (1924): 160 pp:. ill. 23x15 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Back cover detached, fragments of spine and covers lost (design of covers isn’t affected), ink spot on outer edge of p. 48-50. P. 3-4 lost in most copies of this issue. Otherwise good.
#2 (1924): 158 pp. + 2 pp. of ads. 23x15 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Covers detached and soiled. Partly uncut. Stains on p. 1-12, pale water stains on edges of some pages. Good.
#3 (1925): 144 pp.: ill. 23x15 cm. Original constructivist wrappers. Fragments of spine lost, tear of front cover repaired, upper edge of front cover chipped, ink signature on t.p., otherwise very good and clean.
A COMPLETE SET OF SEVEN ISSUES. Very rare. Printrun decreased from 5,000 copies to 1500 copies.
Legendary and the most influential and important magazine of Russian Constructivism. Covers were designed by A. Rodchenko. Publications were edited by V. Mayakovsky.
Every issue consisted of five sections — Program, Practice, Theory, Book, Facts. At first the magazine was published once a month (four issued in 1923). However, only two issues were printed in 1924 and the last one came out in 1925 with only 1500 copies. It was closed for unprofitability even though a few articles on the left front became classic.
Among the writings published in ‘LEF’ for the first time were Mayakovsky’s long poem ‘About This’ (#1 for 1923), and Sergei Eisenstein’s ‘The Montage of Attractions’ (#3 for 1923), as well as more political and journalistic works like Babel’s ‘Red Cavalry’ (#4 for 1923).
The journal’s main objective as set out in its first issue, was “to unite all leftist forces; to inspect its ranks, casting aside the adhered past; to unite the front in order to explode junk, to fight for embracing a new culture”.
Issue #2 (1923) reproduces designs of constructivist clothes by Varvara Stepanova and designs of a logo for the Dobrolet airlines by Alexander Rodchenko. Also, it includes poems about the May Day by Kamensky, Mayakovsky, Aseev, Kruchenykh, Pasternak, Terentiev, Neznamov, Tretiakov. An article about Rodchenko’s students (#3 for 1923) is illustrated with photographs of their constructivist furniture projects. An article on capacity of photomontage technique is published in issue #4 with examples. Next to them projects by Vesniny, Klutsis, Sen’kin, Lavinsky are shown. The same issue proclaimed the decay of VKHUTEMAS. ‘LEF’ suggested turning to production art instead of easel study.
Issue #1 (1924) contains the poem ‘High Disease’ by Boris Pasternak. A review of ‘Evening for Book’ illustrated with four photos of production. Issue #2 (1924) is printed in the memoir of Cubist and Constructivist artist Lyubov Popova who died in May 1924. In the Soviet period, she became known as a fabric designer. Patterns she created are reproduced in the issue along with works by Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko. In his article, Osip Brik united the mentioned artists (and some others) as masters preferring productive art to just easel painting. Also, the issue published a criminal novel in verse by A. Kruchenykh. The 7th issue [#3 for 1925] introduced the first part of Mayakovsky’s poem ‘Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’ that he completed in October 1924 and published as a separate book in 1925 as well. A colored double-page spread features productive art projects by Anton Lavinsky: three posters and a design of a bookselling booth. Next to them, his black-and-white constructivist poster and a structure of a floor lamp are displayed.
The publication of ‘LEF’ ceased abruptly in 1925. The magazine was replaced by ‘Novyy LEF’ [i.e. New LEF], printed in 22 issues from 1927 until 1928.
Copies of the set are located in Princeton University and Art Institute of Chicago.