Item #487 [THEORY OF ART TO THE MASSES] Ot molberta k mashine [i.e. From the easel to the machine]. Nikolay Tarabukin.

[THEORY OF ART TO THE MASSES] Ot molberta k mashine [i.e. From the easel to the machine]

Moscow: Rabotnik prosvesceniya, 1923. Item #487

44 pp. 23x16 cm. Original publisher’s covers. Tears of the spine near fine condition. Owner’s signature on the title page. Constructivist wrapper designed by Antonina Safronova (1892-1966). She started as the ember of ‘Jack of Diamonds’, in 1920-21 she alongside with Mikhail Sokolov had developed an art school in Tver. They both were involved in proto-constructivist book design in Tver. From 1922 on Safronova moved to Moscow and joined the constructivist agenda.

First and only edition. One of 2000 copies. Extremely rare.

The Program work by art critic Nikolay Tarabukin (1889-1956) one of the ideologists of Proletkult, who at the time taught at VKHUTEMAS. Taraburkin is also associated with LEF, he was one of the theoreticians of the ‘art for the masses’, alongside with Gan and Chuzhak. Tarabukin wrote several key texts in 1920s that defined his revolutionary approach towards new art. This particular publication starts with the chapter ‘diagnosis’ in which Tarabukin calls for the crisis in European art. According to him the cultural shift happened at 1921 exhibition 5x5=25, particularly done by Alexander Rodchenko’s work ‘Red. Yellow. Blue’. To the author this work put the end of the art as it was known before and became an invitation to the new forms. The logical new step for Tarabukin is the construction rather than classical art form, that has to be inspired by the industry rather than the classical art. He mentions the meeting held by ‘Institute of art culture’ in Moscow led by Osip Brik in 1921, during which 25 leftist artist have declared the abortion of panel art.

All in all Tarabukin’s work should be considered one of the milestones of leftist art, giving the fact that he has formulated a lot of principles that were taken on by the state in 1920s and even in 1930s.

Only copy is at the Getty according to the Worldcat.


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