Our Notes & References
Very good example of the first edition in English of the first monograph on Chekhonin, limited to 1000 copies.
Sergei Vasilievich Chekhonin (1878-1936) was a prolific book designer, illustrator of satiric journals and member of the celebrated artists’ circle founded by Diaghilev, Benois and Bakst, “Mir Iskusstva” [World of Art]. He served as artistic director of the Soviet State Porcelain Factory in 1918-1923 and 1925-1927, and his designs for plates using decorative forms, graphics and slogans for Soviet propaganda became very famous and instantly recognisable.
“It was as if [Chekhonin] leaped over a whole generation. He spoke of the future as of the present. That unthinkable artistic marriage – Soviet Empire – was consummated under his impatient hands. The disorganised, blockaded, persecuted land of the Soviets appeared in his work firm, ponderous, perfect, and blossomed into a magnificent classicism of form” (Efros).
Abram Efros (1888-1954) was a Russian Soviet art critic, translator, theatre expert and literary critic. He was a friend and supporter of Sergei Esenin and Marc Chagall, whose first monograph he also wrote.
Nikolai Punin (1888–1953) was a Russian art scholar and writer, curator of the Hermitage Museum and the Russian museum. Punin was a lifelong friend and common-law husband of the poetess Anna Akhmatova. In 1949, he was arrested on accusations of “anti-Soviet” activity and died in the Gulag camp of Vorkuta.