With two suites

POUCHKINE, Alexandre and Vasily CHOUKHAEFF (artist) [PUSHKIN and SHUKHAEV]

Boris Godounov

Publication: Éditions de la Pléiade, J. Schiffrin, Paris, 1925.

POUCHKINE, Alexandre and Vasily CHOUKHAEFF (artist) [PUSHKIN and SHUKHAEV], Boris Godounov

One of the great artists’ books of the Russian Paris school – here in the deluxe version on Japon Impérial: one of 18 copies only.

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Our Notes & References

Fresh example of the deluxe version on japon impérial (no. 10 of only 18 copies), with the two additional suites and signed by Schiffrin, who translated and published the work. One suite is in colour, like in the book, the other in black and white; the total print run was only 445 copies.

Shukhaev (1887-1973) studied at the Higher Artistic School of the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg from 1906 to 1912 under Dmitrii Kardovskii, who taught him the art of fine draughtsmanship.

The artist’s collaboration with Schiffrin started with his illustrations for Pushkin’s Queen of Spades, which met success upon publication in 1923. For his Godounov, Shukhaev drew on the Russian icon painting tradition, contemporary with the actual Boris Godunov, and managed to combine it with dramatic shapes and bold colours so representative of Russian art in Paris in the 1920s. The striking result demonstrates artist’s extraordinary ability to visually communicate the atmosphere of the written work.

Shukhaev’s Godounov was not only an example of excellence in book illustration and typography but also an important tool of bringing Russian literature closer to the foreign reader. All the more so, the publication of the book coincided with an important event: since 1925 Russia started to celebrate the Day of the Russian Culture in foreign countries matched with Pushkin’s birthday. Interestingly, Pushkin’s play, originally published in 1831, didn’t get approved for performance by the tsarist censors until 1866.

Originally from Baku, Jacques Schiffrin was an independent young and active editor in Paris. He created Les Éditions de la Pléiade just a couple of years before this Godounov, producing attractive bibliophile productions, and went on to found the celebrated Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1931, which has been producing scholarly and high-quality editions of major French and foreign authors.


Seslavinskii, Randevu 92 ; Fekula II-110.

Item number



Physical Description

Quarto (31.5 x 25 cm), frontispiece, title, 7- [125] pp., with 18 full page hand-coloured pochoir plates by V. Shukhaev, decorative bands and tailpieces throughout, with an additional set of 18 loose pochoir plates and 18 b&w lithographs, sheets watermarked ‘BFK RIVES’.


Original paper wrappers with glassine dust jacket, kept in the original slipcase.


One side of the slipcase restored, otherwise excellent.

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