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Cover Design by Zdanevich

Semi tserkvam: poema [To the seven churches: a poem].

Tiflis (Tbilisi): Iz-vo "Kavkazskii posrednik", 1919. Octavo (18.4 × 12.7 cm). Original staple-stitched pictorial wrappers with a design by Kirill Zdanevich; 15, [1] pp. Small chip to lower right corner; wrappers somewhat toned and fragile; else about very good.

Rare volume containing a long poem by Sergei L'vovich Rafalovich (1875–1943), a Russian poet and translator, who lived in Paris after 1909. During the Russian Civil War he also lived in various cities in the Caucasus, including Tbilisi, Baku, and Batumi, and published the journal "Orion" in Tbilisi together with Sergei Gorodetskii. In a contemporary review, Vladimir Nabokov was critical of Rafalovich's choice of metaphors and themes, while conceding occasional moments of genuine poetic talent. The final leaf contains a list of Rafalovich's numerous publications.

Wrappers designed by Kirill Zdanevich (1892–1969), painter, book, and set designer and a key figure in avant-garde circles in the Caucasus. After a brief association with Vladimir Tatlin and Liubov Popova, he gravitated towards Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova, and was a signatory of the Rayonist Manifesto in 1913. He became known for his experiments with Cubo-Futurism and his interest in primitive art. After being wounded during WWI and settling in Tbilisi, he co-founded the futurist group 41 Degrees (41 Gradus), which also included his brother Il'ia Zdanevich (Ilyazd), Aleksei Kruchenykh, the poet Kara-Darvish and the theater director Igor Terent'ev, and which was active in 1918-1920. Today Zdanevich ranks among the most significant futurist book artists of the time, such as the collection of "ferro-concrete" poems titled 1918. He visited Paris in 1920, but was mostly confined to the Soviet Union, even serving a ten-year GULAG sentence after WWII. The present cover illustration, while partly figurative, is reminiscent of his works for '1918' and demonstrates an interest in the transition from flat surfaces to three-dimensional objects. Signed "K.Z. 1919" to lower left corner.

Not in Getty.

As of November 2022, KVK, OCLC show only one physical copy in North America.

Book ID: 52511

Price: $3,500.00