"Dos Kelbl" by Mendele Mocher Sforim – Kiev, 1919 – Illustrations by Joseph Tchaikov
Sold for: $1,600
Auction house commission: 23%
VAT: On commission only
Dos Kelbl [The Calf], by Mendele Mocher Sforim. Kiev: Kiyever Farlag, . Yiddish. Illustrations by Joseph Tchaikov.
A chapter from "Seyfer Habeheymes" (The Book of Beasts) by Mendele Mocher Sforim, with seven in-text illustrations by Joseph Tchaikov. An additional illustration by Tchaikov appears on the title page and on the front cover.
The logo of the Kiyever Farlag publishing house which appears on the first page and on the back cover was designed by El Lissitzky.
16 pp, approx. 28.5X22.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Unopened pages. Stains. Small tears to edges of leaves. Restored tears to left edge of all leaves. Minor creases. Vertical fold line to all leaves. Blemishes to cover.
Joseph Moisevich Tchaikov (1888-1979; also spelled Chaikov) – a Jewish sculptor, graphic designer, painter and theoretician, born in Kiev.
Tchaikov studied in Paris during the years 1910-1914 and participated in the Parisian Salon d'Automne exhibition in 1913. After World War I, he was one of the founders of Kultur Lige in Kiev, taught sculpture and illustrated books – mostly children's books – and in the years after the revolution, also designed propaganda banners and posters. In 1921, the Melukhe-farlag publishing house in Kiev published his treatise "Sculpture" (see item 224), which is considered the first Yiddish book on sculpture and focuses on avant-garde in sculpture and the place of sculpture in Jewish art. During the years 1923-1930 he taught cubist sculpture inspired by Russian futurism in Moscow, at the Vkhutemas – Higher Art and Technical Studios (alongside Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky) and was also appointed the head of the union of Russian sculptors.
During the next decades, Tchaikov continued to work in a variety of artistic styles and media, moving away from the style that characterized his early work. The booklets and books featured in this catalog, published between 1919 and 1923, all represent his part in Constructivism and the Russian avant-garde movement and document his early works of art as a cubo-futurist artist and sculptor. Tchaikov's illustrations and cover designs are influenced by the spirit of the times and historical events – the pogroms, wars and revolution (see, for example, items 227, 229, 231, 232); yet also show the spirit of innovation and hope. See for example, the figure depicted on the cover of the journal "Baginen" (Yiddish: "dawn", "awakening" or "beginning" – see item 225) which is blowing the Shofar on the backdrop of the rising sun, its body upright, muscular, pointing to the east and its face divided, combining old and new.