Complet set in original wrappers

RODCHENKO Aleksandr, Varvara STEPANOVA et al. (artists)

Novyi LEF. Zhurnal Levogo Fronta Iskussiv. Nos. 1 - 12 (1927) + 1 - 12 (1928). (All Published)

Publication: Gosizdat, Moskva, 1927-28.

RODCHENKO Aleksandr, Varvara STEPANOVA et al. (artists), Novyi LEF. Zhurnal Levogo Fronta Iskussiv. Nos. 1 – 12 (1927) + 1 – 12 (1928). (All Published), Moskva, 1927-28.
A rare complete set of the celebrated ‘Novyi LEF’ journal, complete with wrappers by Rodchenko. Read More


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Our Notes & References

A rare complete set of the celebrated ‘Novyi LEF’ journal with covers by Rodchenko.

‘Novyi LEF’ (New left) succeeded ‘LEF’ as the journal of the Left Front of the Arts, a wide-ranging arts association that emerged from the Russian Revolution. ‘Novyi LEF’, initially edited by Mayakovsky (then Tret’yakov from July 1928), was published monthly by the Soviet State publishing house ‘Gosizdat’ with the aim of re-examining the place of ‘leftist art’ within developing communism. ‘Noyvi LEF’ particularly emphasised the importance of new technologies (photograph and film) in presenting true documentation (‘factographs’) of the working class. ‘LEF’ had been the first publication in the Soviet Union to reproduce photomontages, and the present ‘Noyvi LEF,’ continued to reproduce photographs and present revolutionary political ideas alongside articles on recent developments in photography, film, writing and art from the Russian avant-garde. Alexander Rodchenko designed the covers of all 22 numbers.

Reproduced in the pages of ‘Noyvi LEF’ are also seminal pieces of correspondence, such as Rodchenko’s letters from Paris about Western materialism (February 1927 issue). ‘Novyi LEF’ disbanded over tensions between the formalism of Mayakovsky and the proto-Socialist Realism of Tret’yakov. By 1929 Mayakovsky had created a new group, the short-lived ‘REF’ (Revolutionary Front of Art).

‘The 1927-28 covers of the magazine New LEF are more orthodox illustrations of Constructivist goals, their effectively organized formal language projecting a synthesis of aesthetic clarity and innovation and political / cultural meaning. The layout of the covers is characterised by a rigorous grid, flat bright colors, and distinctly lettered titles. The photographic elements are straightforward details of Soviet life, isolated, silhouetted, and enlarged for maximum visual impact. These dynamic black-and-white images, often details or fragments and sometimes diagonally tipped, set up a subtle tension in relation to the overall design.’ (Margit Rowell).

Bibliography Margit Rowell’s ‘Constructivist Book Design: Shaping the Proletarian Conscience’; Rowell & Wye 715.


Physical Description

Complete set of Novyi LEF’ journal complete with Rodchenko’s wrappers.

24 issues in 22 vols. (225 x 152 mm). Illustrated throughout in black and white. The double issues are Nos. 8 / 9 (1927) and Nos. 11 / 12 (1928).

Binding Original publisher’s pictorial wrappers by Rodchenko, the majority stapled as issued.


Issue nos. 4, 8 / 9, and 11 / 12 from 1927 contain annotations to margins. From the second year, there are annotations to No. 2,No. 6, No. 8, No. 10 and No. 11 (largely in pencil, some blue and red crayon). The set is largely unrestored and in the original wrappers: one issue has discreet repairs to the spine and some reinforcement to the edges of the front and rear wrappers, another issue has stitching replacing the staples and further issues have some rubbing to the spines; overall the set is in very good condition.

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