U rek vavilonskikh. Natsional'no-evreiskaia lirika v mirovoi poezii (By the Rivers of Babylon. National-Jewish Lyric Verse in World Poetry) LISSITZKY, EL
U rek vavilonskikh. Natsional'no-evreiskaia lirika v mirovoi poezii (By the Rivers of Babylon. National-Jewish Lyric Verse in World Poetry)
L. B. Iaffe, ed.

Moscow: Safrut, 1917.

Illustrated wrappers, front and back designed by Lissitzky. 219, [5] p. 24.5 x 20 cm. Edition of 5,000. “The final known work Lissitzky did in 1917 in the pursuit of a Jewish art are designs for the front and back covers of U rek vavilonskikh (fig. 12), published by Safrut in Moscow....On the front cover, a floral folk design is combined with a deer, a popular motif on Jewish gravestones. New, or rather different, is Lissitzky’s treatment of it, indicating that he has studied the formal and stylistic foundations of Jewish folk art, reaching conclusions similar to Altman’s in his Jewish Graphics. The treatment of the deer, together with the crystallized space surrounding the title, which is a foreign element in Jewish folk art, shows that Lissitzky has definitely given up conjuring an ancient aura as well as pure decoration, for the portrayal of Jewish folk art, fused with a more avant-garde style. This is the path Lissitzky would follow and explore for the next year and a half.” (Apter-Gabriel, 107) Some wear and restoration to the attractive wrappers printed on thin, fragile paper; an owner’s name appears in pen on the upper wrapper. Still a very good copy of a scarce work.

OCLC locates 3 copies, at Harvard, UCLA, and Yale. Apter-Gabriel, Tradition and Revolution: 46 (fig. 12), 107. Nisbet, El Lissitzky 1917/5.

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