Kazan: Pervaia Gosudarstvenaia Tipografiia, 1920. Octavo (15.6 × 12 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by S. Gershtein; 92 pp, 8 leaves of plates. Very good.
Scarce catalog of an exhibit of Russian modernist and avant-garde art held at Kazan' on May 28 to September 1, 1920. While it also included ethnographic artifacts and other objects, a key focus was on contemporary graphic art and painting and the exhibition showed works by Natalia Goncharova, A. Grishchenko, Mikhail Larionov, A. Lentulov, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Ol'ga Rozanova, Liubov' Popova and numerous others. With a preface by the organizing committee, which states that the exhibit was intended for "Red Army soldiers and workers," followed by the essay "The arts and socialism" ("Iskusstvo i sotsializm"). The plates show work by Grabar', Aleksandr Benua, I. I. Mashkov, Magda Nakhman, I. Sinezubov, N. I. Feshin, G. A. Medvedev, and P. A. Radimov.
Kazan' was at the time considered the third most important cultural center in the Soviet Union, and the importance of the present exhibition for the Tatarstan region cannot be underestimated. Being the first large-scale presentation of new tendencies in Russian art, including the avant-garde of Moscow and Leningrad, it would have been a most welcome boost to the recently established ARKhUMAS school of arts and architecture (1918-1925). 1920 was also the founding year of the group "Vsadnik", which elevated engraving to a central medium of the avant-garde. For more on the avant-garde in Kazan', see the monograph "Kazanskii avangard, 1910-1930-e gody" (2013).
According to the Encyclopedia of the Russian Avantgarde, three versions are known to exist: one with, one without illustrations, and one printed on gray paper. All versions are rare; as of December 2020, KVK and OCLC locate two copies, at Oxford and Munich, with no holdings in North America.
Book ID: 51064