Vladimir LEBEDEV, Samuil Marshak.
Early Soviet Children’s Illustrations



A group of five booklets, illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev (1891-1967), which were written by Samuil Marshak (1887-1964). Marshak, one of the most (if not the most) famous Soviet children’s writers, and the artist Vladimir Lebedev ran the Children’s Department of the Russian State Publishing House from its inception in 1924. Together they developed a new style of children’s book in line with the avant-garde ideas current in Russian art at the time. Lebedev’s illustrations are recognized among the finest examples of Russian modern graphic art. In 2012, his work was shown at MoMA in New York.                                                                             

 
1)LEBEDEV, Vladimir and Samuil Marshak. Tsirk. Leningrad, Moscow: Giz, 1928 (1st edition 1925). 29 x 22.5 cm, (12) ff, with chromolithographic illustrations in text & on front wrapper.

The rare second edition of Lebedev’s and Marshak’s Tsirk [Circus], published 3 years after the first. The majority of verses are here set in a different, larger type; all the illustrations are the same. The stanza about “red-haired Jacko” on the pentultimate page is omitted here.

“Circus … marks the start of [Lebedev’s & Marshak’s] life-long collaboration, [and] a giant leap forward in children’s book design” [Lemmens and Stommels, Russian Artists and the Children’s Book, p. 47].

*Ella Gankina, Russkie khudozhniki detskoy knigi [Russian Children’s Book Illustrators] (Moscow 1963), p. 230; Historical Children's Literature Collection at University of Washington [Online Database] CHL2243; Albert Lemmens and Serge-Aljosja Stommels, Russian Artists and the Children’s Book, 1890-1992 (Nijmegen, 2009).

 
2)LEBEDEV, Vladimir and Samuil Marshak. Bagazh. Leningrad, Moscow: Raduga, 1926 [on front wrapper]. First edition. 19 x 15 cm, (8) ff; chromolithographic illustrations in text & on front wrapper.

The rare first edition of Bagazh [Luggage]. The publisher of this work was one of the last private publishing houses in the Soviet Union, operating from 1922 until 1930.

*Ella Gankina, Russkie khudozhniki detskoy knigi [Russian Children’s Book Illustrators] (Moscow 1963), p. 230; Polly and Irving Allen Collection of Early 20th Century Books Illustrated by Russian Artists at Amherst, PG 3476 .M3725 B34 1926; MoMA 347.2001.1-9.

 
3)LEBEDEV, Vladimir, and Samuil Marshak. Petrushka inostranets. Leningrad: Ogiz Detgiz, 1935. 5th edition [on front wrapper] (1st edition 1927). 29 x 22.5 cm, (8) ff, including 4 full-page chromolithographic illustrations & chromolithographic illustrations on front wrapper and inner back wrapper.

The only edition of Samuil Marshak’s booklet Petrushka inostranets [Petrushka the Foreigner], illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev.

*Ella Gankina, Russkie khudozhniki detskoy knigi [Russian Children’s Book Illustrators] (Moscow 1963), p. 230; Historical Children's Literature Collection at University of Washington [Online Database].

 

4)LEBEDEV, Vladimir and Samuil Marshak. Vchera i segodnya. Leningrad: Ogiz Detgiz, 1935. 6th edition [on front wrapper] (1st edition 1925). 28.5 x 23 cm, (12) ff, including 2 full-page chromolithographic illustrations & chromolithographic illustrations in text & on front wrapper.

The poem Vchera i segodnya [Yesterday and Today] contrasts old technology with recent innovations. The cover art highlights the juxtaposition between the “old” and the “new.” In the top row, Lebedev depicts representatives of the “old” culture dressed in more traditional attire, whereas the “new” workers below are reminiscent of ROSTA Posters.

*Ella Gankina, Russkie khudozhniki detskoy knigi [Russian Children’s Book Illustrators] (Moscow 1963), p. 230; Historical Children's Literature Collection at University of Washington [Online Database], listing the first edition.

  

5)LEBEDEV, Vladimir and Samuil Marshak. Histoire du petit souriceau. Leningrad: Mejdounarodonaïa kniga: [ca. 1930]. 28 x 21.5 cm, (8) ff, chromolithographic illustrations in text & on front wrapper.

Another collaboration between Samuil Marshak and Vladimir Lebedev, translated into French and published by “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” [International Book]. Founded in 1923, it was the central authority that oversaw the import of all Soviet books to the West.

*OCLC 50200669 (collates with our copy).

Price: $3,850.00

See all items in Rare Books
See all items by ,