Moscow: Uchpedgiz, 1932. Item #683
40 pp. 21x15 cm. In original constructivist styled wrappers. Previous owner’s signature on the front cover and drawing on the back cover, occasional marks and underlines, light vertical crease of the book, otherwise very good.
First and only edition. One of 10 000 copies. Extremely rare.
This is one of the official speeches on the socialist art in the period of a famous resolution ‘‘On the Restructuring of Literary and Artistic Organizations’’ of 1932. It was given by a statesman Moses Epstein (1890-1938) who was a deputy of People’s Commissar for Education of the USSR. He addressed the speech to all art organizations at the Congress of RABIS (Trade Union of Art Workers). Criticizing the contemporary art, he referred to some examples of “dangerous counterrevolutionary works”. Among them was an opera ‘A Life for the Tsar’ by Glinka staged at the provincial amateur theatre while no Moscow theatre dared to perform it before interpretation appeared in 1939.
This brochure was one of the signs of an ending era. The decree of 1932 banned all literary and art groups and basically created state unions instead. This was the end of free art expression, avant-garde and the beginning of state art in a form of already established style - socialist realism. In Soviet political lexicon of the 1920s-30s terms ‘restorative period’ and ‘reconstructive period’ were always adjoined but not synonymous. First half of the 1920s was ‘restorative’, the main goal was to recover economics after wars. ‘Reconstructive period’ was a period of wrapping up NEP which gave a new meaning to the word ‘reconstruction’ - not recovering but constructing a new world.
Worldcat doesn’t track this edition.