Berlin: Petropolis, 1924. , 104,  pp.: ill. 33,5x26,5 cm. In modern cloth binding with original illustrated wrappers mounted. Foxing, edges of half-title chapped, leaf of contents repaired, some soiling, tissue leaves preserved, some with fragments lost.
Valuable piece of Jewish avant-garde printed in emigration. Copy #253 of 300. The monograph was written by art critic, graphic artist and theater designer Boris Aronson (1898-1980), one of the pioneers of the international Jewish modernist movement.
He was born into a rabbi family in Nizhyn (northern Ukraine). In 1912-1916, he studied at the Kyiv Art University. During these years, he became close
to a circle of Jewish students united by an interest of new trends in contemporary European and Russian art and national self-consciousness. He also attended private studios of A. Murashko and A. Exter. His involvement to Jewish art became more large-scale in the Kultur Lige. In its art section he exhibited his works for the first time in the spring of 1920. Until early 1921, he took an active part in collecting Jewish art crafts and luboks for the Kultur-League Museum and taught at its art studio. Soon Aronson co-published with Rybak a kind of manifesto “Di vegn fun der yidisher maleray” (Pathways of Jewish Art), which appeared in the journal ‘Oyfgang’ in 1919. In 1921, Exter invited Asonson to Moscow. He enrolled at the Vkhutemas in the workshop of I. Mashkov, worked as Exter’s assistant at the Kamerny Theater and, probably, designed the play “Before Dawn” at the Moscow Jewish Chamber Theater. In
1922, Aronson left the USSR and moved primarily in Poland and then in Germany.
There he participated in cultural events of Russian and Jewish artists, exhibited at Van Diemen gallery, created costume designs for a performance of one of the pioneers of Jewish avant-garde choreography, dancer Baruch Kaushansky-Agadati. He released two books, a review “Contemporary Jewish Graphics” and a monograph “Marc Chagal”.
According to Aronson, Jewish art always was twodimensional and non-realistic. This was initiated by religious ornaments and thus spread through works of all Jewish artists. Lissitzky, Rybak, Elman – they all copied folk ornaments to use them in their own graphics. Aronson compares his contemporaries and features of their manners.
This book was printed in the Berlin printing house Zinaburg and Co. Illustrations were printed in the art workshops of Albert Fischer. It features reproductions of works by remarkable Jewish artists of the early 20th century: N. Altman, B. Aronson, L. Zak, El Lissitzky, L. Lozovik, S. Rybak, A. Tyshler, M. Chagall, D. Sternberg, J. Steingart, I. Chaikov, I. Elman.
Copies are located in Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Texas, North Texas, Chicago, Colorado Boulder, Cincinnati, Ohio, Binghamton Universities, Getty Institute, Hebrew Union and Amherst Colleges, NYPL.