Leningrad: Izogiz, 1938.  pp., 24 ills. 34,5x26 cm. In original illustrated cardboards. Covers bumped and slightly soiled, some small stains, stamps and ink numbers of Soviet club on t.p. and leaf . Otherwise very good.
First and only edition. One of 10 000 copies. The title page is illustrated by eminent Belarusian book illustrator Valerian Dvorakovskii (1904-1979). Leaves of illustrations are supplemented with an introductory article by artist Nikolai Radlov.
This remarkable collection displays Soviet children of different age, ethnicity and activity, as they were met by artist Alexei Pakhomov (1900-1973). In 1915, he enrolled in the Central School of Technical Drawing of Baron A. L. Stieglitz where he got into the workshop of N. Tyrsa. After serving in the army he moved to the workshop of V. Lebedev. Then Pakhomov embarked on teaching at the Kadnikov school. Also, he studied in the Petrograd VKHUTEIN in 1920-1925 under A. Savinov, S. Chekhonin, V. Shukhaev. Having gone through modernism, he, nevertheless, turned to work from nature, performing numerous sketches. In fact, Pakhomov hadn’t initially appreciated pencil sketches, considering them something auxiliary for future serious works. However, Tyrsa and Lebedev were able to convince him that an expressive pencil sketch could also be an independent work.
As some other apprentices of Lebedev, Pakhomov began to work in the Children’s Department of GIZ in 1925. He became one of the leading artists of children’s book graphics in Leningrad in the 1920-1940s. In the 1930s, Pakhomov increasingly performed black and white illustrations. He was looking for an extremely concise solution by means of graphics and achieved high results. It wasn’t immediately made in the quality that would be suitable for children’s illustrations. In 1936, he managed to apply offset printing to pencil illustrations. He recalled: “For me, this was a great event that changed the nature of all my future work in the book [graphics]. From then on, I began to work on books only in my favorite pencil manner, improving it and modifying it in relation to a text”. In this technique, he designed ‘Schoolmates’ by S. Marchak in 1937. Cover design of that book was also chosen for the front cover and endpapers designs of this particular collection of graphics.
The edition collects 100 black-and white sketches and 10 colorful artworks created in 1926-1937. Paper stock purposed for illustrations varied.
The book reproduces lots of schoolchildren whom Pakhomov had drawn for Marshak’s book. There he especially highlighted pairs of various ethnicities wearing representative clothing. In this collection, all works dedicated to multi-national people of the Soviet Union were gathered in the last yet large section.
Illustrations for the book ‘The Sixth Skorokhodovskii’ (1931) was supposed to show important events of restructuring of Soviet mass education. The project was topical and was created at an hastened pace. The artist produced drawings in three days. Of all sketches, overall 50 were published. Pakhomov used sketches made from students of the 84th factory seven-year school which was patronized by the Leningrad factory ‘Skorokhod’.
In 1933, Pakhomov visited the Artek pioneer camp where produced three series of pencil drawings. The first one resulted in a watercolor ‘Assembly’ (1933) where pioneers’ morning rituals were shown, including alignment of groups in a certain place and raising a flag during performing music of a horn. Healthcare procedures were depicted and the oil painting ‘Under the Sun’ (1935) was finally completed. Most likely, the oil painting ‘Swimming’ (1935) was inspired at the same time. It features an international trio of Slavonic, Mongolian and Black boys standing on a sandy beach and drying their bodies with towels. Also, children were sketched while they were engaged in club activities. Some of them were putting a speaking doll in a tractor. The color lithograph ‘Young Nature Observers in Artek’ (1933) features a dynamic composition of children and an educator, examining the surface of a rock. In the 1930s, Pakhomov visited other young pioneer camps where lots of young figures were drawn.
The artist regularly attended various children’s events and chronicled them on paper in his own manner. Such works were commissioned by the magazine ‘Yozh’. Thus, he depicted participants of the VI Leningrad Region Gathering of Aircraft Modelers. The watercolor ‘S. Kirov among Aircraft Modelers’ (1936), the oil painting ‘Aircraft Modelers’ (1935) and five sketches demonstrate enthusiasm of Soviet girls and boys in aviation and creation of their own flying objects. Another event presented in the book was the V Olimpiade of Children’s Amateur Performances in Leningrad.
Copies are located in Princeton, Harvard, Missouri Universities, NYPL and the MET.