6051. Constructivist Russian classic by Lebedev 1925

CONSTRUCTIVIST CHILDRENS CLASSIC. LEBEDEV, VLADIMIR VASILEVICH (1891-1967) - MARSHAK, SAMUIL (1887-1964). Tsirk (Circus). (Leningrad) Raduga, 1925.

4to. (275x220 mm.). With 12 colour lithographs after Lebedev with text by Marshak. Original colour lithographed wrappers designed by V. V. Lebedev. Wrapper slightly soiled and with some wear, lower corner with some creases, occasional finger-soiling to text / plates, spine with tape marks, small tear to upper part of spine, owner's signature in blue pen on front wrapper (Inggärd Melander, Paris -25).

First edition of this constructivist children's classic. When Lebedev first showed his pictures for Tsirk to Marshak, he immediately offered to write verses to accompany them. The various typefaces serve as another design element for this stunning picture book. Lebedev has thrown in a few sly satirical jabs in the performers. Mayakovsky was particularly fond of Marshak's verse in this book. (MoMA, The Russian Avant-Garde Book, pp.172-3.)
Printed in 10.000 copies. A Dutch edition was also published in 1931.

Vladimir Vasil'evich Lebedev (1891-1967), Russian graphic artist, painter and illustrator who worked as an art editor  of the state publishing house Gosizdat (later Detgiz) from 1924 to 1933. His creative collaboration with poet, author and translator Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak, who was editor-in-chief, brought together the innovative talents of two extraordinary artists. In 1937 Detgiz was closed down, and many of its authors and editors were arrested and sent to Gulags. Marshak and Lebedev survived; the first made a narrow escape to Moscow, while the latter changed his illustrative style to the realistic and never again exhibited as a painter.