[Illustrator’s Dummy of:] Arba’ah Teyashim. [Four Billy Goats.]. Uriel Kahana, Benzion Raskin, El Lissitzky.
[Illustrator’s Dummy of:] Arba’ah Teyashim. [Four Billy Goats.]
[Illustrator’s Dummy of:] Arba’ah Teyashim. [Four Billy Goats.]
[Illustrator’s Dummy of:] Arba’ah Teyashim. [Four Billy Goats.]
Original Book Dummy by Kahana , Cover by Lissitzky

[Illustrator’s Dummy of:] Arba’ah Teyashim. [Four Billy Goats.]

[Warsaw]: [ca. 1922]. Original book dummy. Designed and illustrated by Uriel Kahana. Cover design attributed to El Lissitzky. Illustrations and text-bands (the earlier typewritten ones overlaid by print-proofs) are mounted on the pages. With corrections, notes and other signs in black and red pencil. Together with two red-and-black proofs of the front cover design. With ten extra copies of illustrations (clipped), and one leaf with proofs of the signet of Tsil Tslil (the series of the publisher, in which the book appeared). The last leaf of the printed book is omitted from the dummy. 18 p. Some of the mounted text-bands are creased (those not pasted, kept separately). Leaves are chipped at edges. Paper yellowed due to aging. Slightly dusted and stained because of the glue used to paste the illustrations and the text-bands. Overall in good condition.

Book dummy for the Hebrew children’s book, the Four Billy Goats, illustrated by Uriel Kahana, the cover design is attributed to El Lissitzky.

This book dummy of Arba’ah Teyashim, the Four Billy Goats (published by Tarbut, Warsaw, 1922) was created by Uriel Kahana the illustrator and typographer of the book. The drawings are identical to the printed version, the text arrangement slightly differs from it. The illustrations are reminiscent of Chagall’s and Ryback’s works, and also Lissitzky’s drawings for his renowned books Had Gadya (1919) and Yingl tsingl khvat (1922), or the 1919 Der Ber whose text was also written by Benzion Raskin. Twenty mounted illustrations, animals and city landscapes are presented in the maquette. The signet and a smaller city landscape from the printed book’s title and last pages are presented separately, together with extra copies of eight of the illustrations. The collection includes a sheet with five print proofs of the signet of Tarbut’s book series “Tsil Tslil”, which was also designed by Kahana. The cover of the publication (two proofs of it included), an arrangement of Hebrew letters as architectural elements in a dynamic design, printed in red and black, is attributed to El Lissitzky and it mirrors his contemporary Proun typography.

One of the earliest works of Uriel Kahana (1903–1965) the Ukrainian-born Jewish graphic artist, and architect. Kahana, after receiving a traditional Jewish education, studied art, architecture, and design. His family moved to Warsaw in the early 1920s, where Uriel joined the association of the local Jewish graphic artists. While in Warsaw, through Tarbut, a network and movement of secular, Zionist, Hebrew-language educational institutions in Poland, he got a commission to design the present children’s book. From the mid-1920s until 1933 Kahana studied architecture in Rome, Prague, and London. After some years working in the UK, he settled down in Palestine and started to work at Erich Mendelsohn’s office in Jerusalem, and in 1938 he opened his own architect’s office in Tel Aviv. As an architect, he worked throughout Europe as well as in Palestine, and he also remained active as a graphic artist. Kahana died in Tel Aviv in 1965.

The Lissitzky-attributed cover design is included in the collections of MoMA and the Getty Research Institute and referred to it – besides many later art historians – by Jan Tschichold in his 1932 article on Lissitzky (in Imprimatur III, p. 112).

Ref.: MoMA 563.1977; Getty Russian Modernism 452

Bibl.: Tschichold, J.: Über El Lissitzky. In: Imprimatur III. Ein Jahrbuch für Bücherfreunde. Gesellschaft der Bücherfreunde zu Hamburg, 1932. pp. 97–112.; Woodruff, D.; Grubišić, L.: Russian Modernism: The Collections of the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, I. Santa Monica: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1997. p. 96.

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Price: €40,000.00

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