Der Ber (The Bear) LISSITZKY, EL
Der Ber (The Bear) Kinder Gorten
Uncle Ben Zion (Ben Zion Raskin)

Kiev-St. Petersburg: Yidisher Folks Farlag, 1919.

Original illustrated wrappers, with title page and 8 illustrations by Lissitzky. Mild toning, rubber stamp to front wrapper and p. 5. 10, [2] p. “After 1923, Lissitzky ceased illustrating Yiddish books and concentrated his great talents on Constructivism, photomontage and architectural design, making significant contributions in all of them... His illustrated Yiddish books remain unsurpassed to this day.” (Tradition and Revolution, p. 66) Although this side of his work was little known until fairly recently, the great modernist artist El Lissitzky produced several extraordinary Yiddish children’s books while living and working in Kiev soon after the Revolution. As a member of IZO Narkompros (People’s Commissariat of Enlightenment), he helped set up the Kultur Lige in Kiev. In 1919, he and the writer Ben Zion Raskin signed a contract with Yidisher Folks Farlag Kooperativ for 11 children’s books in the “Kinder Gorten” series. Only two titles other than this one were ever published, including The Miller, his Wife and the Millstones. These Yiddish children’s books are extremely rare as many disappeared when Yiddish publications were officially banned by the Soviet State.

OCLC locates 1 copy, at Getty. Apter-Gabriel, Tradition and Revolution: 186–87 (fig. 94). Nisbet, El Lissitzky 1919/3.

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