Tallinn: ["Aktsiooni" Kirjastus], 1927-1933. Octavos (16.3 x 12.5 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by Peet Aren, Märt Laarman and Jaan Vahtra; 28, ; 60, ; and 63, [I] pp. Very good or better.
Antson (1899-1945) was an Estonian teacher, journalist, and writer who participated in the "Aktsioon" ("Action") literary group and co-published the eponymous series of almanacs (1926, 1927 and 1929). In addition to his travel writing, Antson was known for his plays, which were often leftist and pacifist in orientation. Much of his work was influenced by expressionism and detailed the horrors of war and revolution. This collection of satirical epigrams, in three volumes published over six years (a final, fourth volume appeared in 1946), takes sharp aim at the literary, cultural, but also political establishment, not only in Estonia but in Europe at large (witness the "Hitler" epigram in the 1933 collection!). The set also represents a striking cross-section of Estonian modernist design of the late 1920s, with one wrapper each designed by Peet Aren (1889-1970), Märt Laarman (1896-1979), and Jaan Vahtra (1882–1947). Laarman was one of the outstanding followers of cubism and constructivism in Estonia. His "numerous book-covers and illustrations present the possibilities of applying such a method in the field of book graphics that is based upon the constructive rhythm of simple and expressive planes. Moreover, Laarman was the first to apply the principles of Elementary Typography, new at that time, in the design of architectonically expressive and homogeneous books" (Rein Loodus, 21). In addition to his own work, Laarman was also instrumental in furthering public awareness of avantgarde art: "Laarman edited and published The Book of New Art (1928), the group's programmatic almanac, which helped the public develop a better understanding of the avant-garde" (Art of the Baltics, 38). Rare; KVK, OCLC show a single copy of vol. I at Göttingen, of vol. 2 at Helsinki, and of vol. 3 at UCLA.
Book ID: 48566