Tiflis: Zakkniga, 1931. Item #767
XV, 160 pp.: ill. 21x15 cm. Original illustrated wrappers. Very good condition. Minor soiling. Partly uncut. 21,5x14,5 cm. 1 of 3000 copies printed.
The collection of poetry and prose, gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Georgian Soviet Republic. All of the text is in Russian.
The book features the poems and prose by Mayakovsky, Sergei Tretiakov, Viktor Shklovsky, Vasily Kamenskii, Andrei Bely, Semen Kirsanov, Georgia Kreitan.
Among the Georgian poets the verses of Sandro Euli, Titsian Tabidze, Akaki Mashashvili are included.
The design of the book is the joint effort of Lado Gudiashvili (1896-1980) and M. Zhitomirskiy. Gudiashvili, who is responsible for the wrapper design as well as the headpieces in text, is usually known as the lyrical symbolist illustrator. Regarded by some as the most important Georgian artist of the 20th century, he has collaborated with the main avant-garde acts in Georgia in the 1910s-20s (like his illustrations to the ‘Fantastic Tavern’ in 1919), ideologically he always has been somewhat apart from the left ideas, that embraced Georgian progressive artists in the 1920s. This book is an interesting example of Gudiashvili embracing some of the constructivist and leftist ideas and while keeping the famous elegance of his style, creating the book design the likes of which we haven’t encountered in his career before or after. The wrapper shows the famous Zahesi electro-station with the image of the man on the tractor waving to Lenin’s statue. The tractor becomes the hero in the series of headpieces created for the book. It’s clear to see the Gudiashvili took the inspiration from the industrial progress of the republic creating the series. One of the most interesting illustrations that is used two times in the book is the image of tractor forcing away the cow and the horse, which are shown in the usual Gudiashvili manner, thin and elegant, gazelle-like. This could be seen as a challenge thrown at himself, where the artist was seeking his own ideology in the changing Soviet world.
The constructivist illustrations by Gudiashvili is supported by the linotype design by Zhitomirskiy, who has used the typographical bars and other non-graphical means to emphasise the style created by Gudiashvili.
Very unusual work of Georgian book design of the early 1930s.