"1919", by Leib Kvitko – Berlin, 1923 – Cover Design by Joseph Tchaikov
Sold for: $650
Auction house commission: 23%
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1919, by L. [Leib] Kvitko. Berlin: Idisher literarisher farlag, 1923. Yiddish. Cover design by Joseph Tchaikov.
A volume of poetry by Leib Kvitko dealing with the pogroms in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, especially in 1919 ("the Petliura pogroms"). Front cover illustration by Joseph Tchaikov.
Leib Kvitko (1890-1952), a poet, writer and editor, one of the most prominent Yiddish children's authors in the Soviet Union and a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. He was executed in 1952, by Stalin's orders, on what is known as The Night of the Murdered Poets.
163 pp,  leaves, 19 cm. Good condition. Foxing, mostly to cover and margins of leaves. The two last leaves' upper edges are unopened. Tear to one of the leaves. Tears to edges of cover and spine.
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.