Dvadsat' let Kazakhstana.
(20 Years of Kazakhstan.)Leningrad: IUskinoizdat-Kazfotoizdat, 1940 Stock Code: 133938
First edition of just 4,100 copies, extremely uncommon, WorldCat locates copies at the universities of Kansas and Hawaii only. Edited by the then first secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party, this is a spectacular, if fragile, visual celebration of the establishment of Soviet Kazakhstan, originally founded as the Kirghiz Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic in August 1920. Notable among the photographic contributors are Abram Shterenberg (1894-1979) and Arkadiy Shaikhet (1898-1959). Brother of the perhaps better known artist David, Shterenberg was a key figure in the development of Soviet photography, best known for his superb portraiture. His suite of six post-mortem images of Lenin is probably his best known work, but his portraits of Mayakovsky pugnacious in a cap, Tagore illuminated as if from within, Ilya Ehrenburg defiant a year or so before his death, and Lili Brik, Mayakovsky's muse, dangerous at bay, are no less powerfully defining. Shterenberg worked for the leading Russian photo-agencies Rusfoto and Soyuzfoto travelling extensively in Central Asia, and to the Arctic in 1931 on the icebreaker Malygin for its rendezvous with the Graf Zeppelin.
Shterenberg's colleague Shaikhet was one of the leading exponents of Soviet "artistic reportage" school of photo documentation, joining the staff of Ogoniok, one of Russia's oldest illustrated magazines, when just 23, becoming a significant contributor of industrial photography to the highly influential USSR in Construction', and covering the Battle of Stalingrad as an official photographer.
The binding, endpapers and overall design of the book were the work of Ilya Krichevsky (1907-2002) a graduate of VKhUTEIN - the Higher Art and Technical Institute - one of Russia's leading typographers and book artists of the period. A handsome production, an excellent exemplar of Soviet book design of its time, but delicate, and consequently genuinely scarce and desirable.
"Quarto" (290 x 222 mm), bifolia wire-stitched in the original dark red cloth, title panel in red and green to spine and front board, bisque endpapers with "carpet" designs in colour, tipped-in illustration of a statue of an aqin or bard with a dombra - the Kazakh lute - to both pastedowns.
Decorative title page and section titles printed in pale tan, red and green, pair of circular portraits of Lenin and Stalin mounted on card-stock, yellow silk stubs, in green and tan decorative surround with embossing, double-folding group portrait of St
A little rubbed at the extremities, two bifolia loose from the staples, inevitably a little shaken, but overall a remarkably well-preserved copy, very good.
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