Kazan’: [Tatglavlit], 1929. Item #459
71 pp.: ill., 7 pl. 17x13 cm. In original printed oversized wrappers. All edges red colored. Near fine.
First and only edition. One of 300 copies. Extremely rare, especially in such mint condition. Text in Russian. Title page, front cover and captions in Russian and Tatar (in both Arabic and Latin alphabets).
Kazan’ in the 1920s has experienced one of the most independent and unique avant-garde art movements. Groups like Vsadnik, TatLEF, Podsolnechnik and others have proclaimed the new levels of the correlation between the artist and the book. As a result, the tradition of low runs almanacs and books existed in 1920s, with artworks that were created specially for those publications. Because of that Kazan’ constructivism differs from the one in capitals as it was powered not only by the design tradition of the town but also by Tartar artists, the most famous of whom was Faik Tahirov, the tartar El Lissitzky. This explains the level of artistic significance of some of the student constructivist design from this book.
This brochure describes the organization and work of the most famous Polygraphic School from its beginning in 1921 to 1927. It has an extensive and detailed information on number of students on each course each year, school budget, average month salary of students (‘all graduates were assigned to printing houses of Kazan’ the next day… there was a big quarrel between printers because of Tatar typesetters, everyone wanted to have one’), names of graduates for 1926 and 1927, economic state of the school, description of library and its needs (1250 Russian and 540 Tatar books), teacher’s staff, social, age, specialty and ethnic groups of students, school program, equipment and educational materials, teaching history of book and theory of polygraphy, on
contemporary state of printing in Kazan’ with a bibliography of editions printed by the school and list of books in Tatar from 1923 to 1928 printed by the school. Special place holds a short account on role of graphic design in school by Petr Dulsky’ (1879-1956), a professional artist who was a teacher at the School as well as an art critic, a publishing and museum worker, a local historian, a book expert, an expert in the field of architecture. He laid the foundations of the art of Tatarstan, writing numerous works on the history of art and architecture of the Kazan’ province and Soviet Tatarstan. He wrote more than 125 brochures and books on different art subjects.
Besides unique photographs of classes and students at work the edition has a few outstanding examples of polygraphic work like illustrations, bookplate, title pages and front covers. Each work was made by a student and captioned. The design and quality of materials of this edition is very high, especially due to paper shortage throughout 1920s.
Tatar alphabet based on Arabic alphabet was used by Tatars from the 10th century untill 1920. In 1927 the Soviet government carried out Latinization of all the Turkic-speaking republics of the USSR starting with Tatarstan and Bashkiria, the new alphabet was called ‘yanalif’. But in 1939 Soviets Latin alphabet was changed to Cyrillic. During those 12 years both Arabic and Latin based Tatar alphabets
were in active use.
Worldcat locates two copies in the British Library and National Library of France.