Our Notes & References
Very good example of this celebrated children book, Chernyi’s first publication in emigration after the poet left Russia in the autumn 1920. This collection of verse about toys, games and zoo animals includes works from the 1910s but also inedited poems which Chernyi wrote in Vilnius. Like Vladimir Nabokov, Sasha Chernyi (also Chorny; 1880-1932) left for Berlin first, but eventually settled in Paris, where he died of a heart attack while helping his neighbours put out a fire.
The book has been praised for Grigoriev’s numerous illustrations, his only work for children. One of the celebrated Russian émigré artists, Boris Grigoriev (1886-1939) was a prominent painter and draughtsman, particularly famous for his distinctive imagery in cabaret and genre scenes, and mysticism. He was expelled from the St Petersburg Academy of Arts for his association with Cubism and Post-Impressionism, as well as for the influence of futurists on his art. In 1919 he secretly left Russia, crossing the Gulf of Finland with his family in a boat. In exile he earned wide recognition: he was elected a member of the Paris Salon d’Automne, had personal exhibitions in major European and American cities, and even headed the Academy of Arts in Santiago, Chile.
This fine publication is fragile and often found in poor condition.
Unidentified bookplate to upper pastedown with a globe, skull and books on a table, with “75” in purple ink instead of the owner’s name (possibly a “Ella Schult” as found in pencil on another example of this bookplate).