[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]. A. A. Blok.
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]
[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]

[ILLUSTRATIONS BY N. GONCHAROVA AND M. LARIONOV] Dvenadtsat’. Skify [i.e. The Twelve. The Scythians]

Item #434

Paris: Michen’, 1920. 30
pp.: ill., pl. 25x20 cm. In original printed wrappers. Near fine, with tiny tears of the
extremities of the oversized wrappers, Soviet bookshop’s stamp and pen mark on the
rear wrapper, also foreign bookshop’s stamp, ink signature on the half-title (7 July of
1926).

Very rare. With two full page illustrations by Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962)
and six by Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964), and one tail-piece by Larionov.
Probably the most desirable edition of Alexander Blok’s famous masterpiece
‘The Twelve’ with added ‘The Scythians’ with illustrations by two most important
artists of Russian avant-garde. Both poems dedicated to the revolution. In his most
popular and controversial work ‘The Twelve’ Blok compared twelve Red Guardsmen
to the Twelve Apostles. In ‘The Scythians’, he invited the West ‘‘to share our peace
and glowing toil’’ by aiding the Bolshevik government. Larionov created a series of
illustrations for different editions but this set for Russian edition is the most dramatic
of all.

Mikhail Larionov was working on illustrations for Blok’s poems in 1920
in France comprehending not only poems but Russian Revolution in general which
he together with Goncharova was lucky to escape. Drawings were published three
times that year. This is the first of those three editions (other printed in Paris and
London) and it’s different from next two. Pencil originals for this first edition were not
preserved.

This was a new unusual task for the artist as in the 1900-1910s his art was
close to primitivism and lubok. He used to work with futuristic lithographed books in
which there was an unbreakable bond between image and a text while here he was an
interpreter of Blok’s idea. It’s also very interesting because Blok and Larionov belonged
to very different cultural layers, Blok to St. Petersburg symbolist group, Larionov to
Moscow art underground world. Between the poet whose mentality is rooted in the
deep layers of 19th century’s culture and artists of the new era an invisible watershed
layed. But while creating The Twelve Blok plunged into the ‘Larionov’s world’ of
marginal elements - soldiers, prostitutes on the streets of a big city.

Blok hadn’t seen Larionov’s illustrations so it’s unknown whether he would
like them or not. But here one can experience foremost Larionov’s own vision focused
on catastrophe of a world war (a former soldier himself Larionov for the first time used
his own memories of war in this work) and not on Russian rebellious masses as Blok
saw it.

Not in Kilgour or Fekula. Tarasenkov, 63; Getty, 84.

Price: $3,000.00

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