[BOOK COVER BY MALEVICH] Pervyi tsikl lektsii, chitannykh na kratkosrochnykh kursakh dlya uchitelei risovaniya: Sovremennoye iskusstvo [i.e. First Cycle of Lectures given for Short Courses for Teachers of Drawing: Contemporary Art]
Petrograd: 17-ya Gos. tip., 1920. 84 pp. 8vo. Original printed wrappers with a color lithograph by Malevich on each wrapper. Spine restored, otherwise very good copy.
A rare example of Malevich’s application of Suprematism to book design.
Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) famously proclaimed in the catalog to the Tenth State Exhibition in 1917: «I have broken the blue shade of color boundaries and come out into white. Behind me comrade pilots swim in the whiteness. I have established the semaphore of Suprematism.» Yet Nikolai Punin didn’t see the Suprematism of Malevich as a new base for national artistic tradition. «For him it was too individualistic to serve this mighty purpose.» However, it did not stop him from being interested in Malevich’s work. It is no coincidence that the front cover of this book was designed by the artist.
Nikolai Nikolaevich Punin (1888-1935) was a Russian art scholar and writer. His circle of friends included Mayakovsky, Malevich, Tatlin, Lebedev and others. He was also a remarkable lecturer; his lectures were extremely popular among open-minded members of the Soviet Academia, and among his numerous students. In the present series of lectures, delivered in 1919, he said: «Young artists ... feel the law of absolute creative pressure, because for them it is important first of all to increase the sum of human experience [and] enrich humanity with new artistic principles.”
Copies are found in Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Notre Dame, Iowa Universities, Getty Institute, LACMA.