Warmly inscribed by Burliuk

BURLIUK, David, Aleksandra EKSTER, Maria VASILIEVA (artists) and Benedict LIVSHITS (author)

Volchie solntse. Kniga stikhov vtoraia [v] "Futuristy"

[Sun of wolves. Second book of poetry [in] "Futurists"]

Publication: Ekonomiia, Kherson, for Gileia, Kherson-Moskva, 1914.

BURLIUK, David, Aleksandra EKSTER, Maria VASILIEVA (artists) and Benedict LIVSHITS (author), Volchie solntse. Kniga stikhov vtoraia [v] “Futuristy”

First edition of this collection of futurist poetry, inscribed by Burliuk to “the best customer” Lev Grinkrug. A lovely book, finely illustrated with plates by Burliuk and two famous Russian avant-garde female artists: Exter and Vasilieva.

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Our Notes & References

Inscribed by Burliuk to Lev Grinkrug, a Russian Jewish literary and film editor and a close friend of Vladimir Maiakovskii and Lilia and Osip Brik. Together with Maiakovskii, David Burliuk and Vasilii Kamenskii, Grinkrug starred in the film Ne dlia deneg rodivshiisia [“Born not for the Money”] in 1918. Born to a rich bankers’ family, Lev Grinkrug (1889-1987) then became financial director of the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) (1919-25).

This is the first edition of this collection of futurist poetry, with plates by Burliuk and two Russian avant-garde female artists. One of 480 copies only.

This second collection of poetry by Benedikt Lifshits (1887-1937) follows his debut Marsova fleita [The Flute of Marsias] (1911), destroyed by government censorship. Its title “Sun of wolves” derives from the image “soleil des loups”, ie. the moon, from Livshits’ translation of Tristan Corbières’ poem “Paysage mauvais”.

It opens with a three-colour frontispiece by Maria Vasilieva (1884-1957), a Russian artist and founder of Svobodnaia Akademiia [Free Academy] in Paris. The cliché from her work was supposedly obtained through one of the main “amazons” of Russian avant-garde, Alexandra Ekster (1882-1949). One of her drawings is also reproduced in the book, and Livshits dedicated to her three poems in the collection.

Livshits’ poetry is succeded by Chetyre zhenshchiny [Four women], a series of four plates by “the father of Russian Futurism”, David Burliuk (1882-1967). These four dynamic and fresh neo-primitivist drawings are printed in blue tone and prefaced by the artist: “Ben [Livshits], I dedicate drawings to you; don’t be angry about the typos” (our translation).

The small volume ends with a catalogue of early Russian futurists’ publications, in 1908-14 in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

The book was published by the futurist group Gilea, whose members are listed on the cover: the Burliuk brothers, V. Khlebnikov, V. Maiakovskii, V. Kamenskii, A. Kruchenykh and B. Livshits. The latter suggested the group’s name, borrowing it from Herodotus’ Histories, where Hylaea is a part of Scythia beyond the mouth of the Dnieper River. It’s here, in the Taurida province of Russia, that the Burliuk brothers spent their childhood and youth, in the estate of Chernianka.

Active in the early 1910s, Gilea was the most radical flank of Russian literary futurism, characterised by revolutionary rebellion and opposition to bourgeois society, its morals, aesthetic tastes, and the entire system of social relations.

Volchie solntse was the last futurist book to be printed at ‘Ekonomiia’, the printing house of F. Narovlianskii and Sh. Fraerman in Kherson (modern-day Ukraine). The second edition appeared a few months later in Moscow, published by ‘Mysl’ (‘Thought’), and soon afterwards ‘Gilea’ would disintegrate.


Lev Grinkrug (pencil dedication on title, “from the publisher to the best customer ‘benefactor’ and friend Lev Grinkrug [… from] David Burliuk 1917. XII” [Izdatel luchshemu pokupatelu “metsenatu” i drugu Grinkrugu Lvu […] udostoveriaet David Burliuk 1917. XII]).


Lesman 1352; MoMA 67; Polyakov 58; Rozanov 3216; Turchinskii, p. 300; Kubofuturizm // Biblioteka russkoi poezii. (online).

Item number



Physical Description

Duodecimo (18 x 11.5 cm). 58 incl. title and introduction leaf with ill. by Exter, colour plate by Vasilieva after title, [2] blank, title for plate section, 4 plates by Burliuk, [4] t.o.c. and errata, and 59-64 pp.


Publisher’s printed wrappers.


Rubbed and slightly stained, spine chipped at extremities, upper cover splitting; fresh internally.

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