[JACK OF DIAMONDS] Katalog vystavki “Bubnovyi valet”. 1910-1911 dekabr-ianvar [i.e. Exhibition Catalogue of Jack of Diamonds group. December-January of 1910-1911]

[JACK OF DIAMONDS] Katalog vystavki “Bubnovyi valet”. 1910-1911 dekabr-ianvar [i.e. Exhibition Catalogue of Jack of Diamonds group. December-January of 1910-1911]

Item #441

Moscow: Typ. tov-va Levenson, [1910]. [12] pp. 20x11 cm. In original printed wrappers. Number inscribed on the top margin of the front wrapper, otherwise near fine.

Very rare. The catalogue for the exhibition which became one of the most stunning cultural events of the time, ‘a slap in the face of public taste’, or as Malevich
compared it ‘with the explosion of the strongest volcano’. This was the first exhibition of the art group which formed later next year as a result and was called Bubnovyi Valet [i.e. Jack of Diamonds]. There were 250 art pieces including works by Goncharova, Larionov, Kandinsky, Lentulov, Burliuk brothers, Malevich, Mashkov, Konchalovsky, and others.

The exhibition was a landmark for the entire Russian avant-garde and the first loud statement of the young Russian avant-garde. It not only entailed a lot of
ideological and artistic disputes but it was after this exhibition that avant-gardists split into two camps - Westerners and those who professed the primacy of the East before the West.

The name itself was allegedly invented by Larionov with reference to cards. Although the Jack of Diamonds had many other meanings. For example, in French Valet de carreaux is a scoundrel. Prisoners wore the clothes with the ace of diamonds sewed on them. They even said that the Moscow governor wanted to ban the opening of the exhibition, but still it was held. ‘‘When posters advertising the exhibition appeared, it could be assumed that they are related to a casino, a madhouse, a public house, even to a theater, but few could imagine that it was an art exhibition’’ (John Bowlt. Khudozhniki russkogo teatra… M., 1994).

Artists wanted to shock and make a fuss and succeeded in it. Nearly 1800 people visited the show, one painting was sold, and four works were removed for ‘pornographic and anti-religious content’ (Goncharova and Lentulov’s paintings).

Worldcat locates only copy at Getty Research Institute.

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