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Russian Avant-Garde Books

Digitized books belonging to the Getty Library's extensive holdings on Russian modernism.

Created 2008
Author: Nancy Perloff, Associate Curator

The Getty Library became a leading repository in this field with the acquisition in 1988 of a collection of hundreds of Russian modernist books and periodicals from the Parisian collector Marc-Martin Malburet. Since that time, significant acquisitions have been made both in Russian and Soviet books and in archival collections. In addition to the Kandinsky Papers, acquired in 1985, the Getty Library owns a major archive containing El Lissitzky's letters to his wife Sophie Küppers and photographs of his exhibition designs; the VKhUTEMAS archive of faculty and student work; and a collection of Soviet photographs from 1918. 
The original 21 (now 35) Russian avant-garde books on this site were first selected for digitization as part of the workshop "Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde," held in April 2007. Four of the digitized books—A Game in Hell: A PoemExplodity (first edition), Transrational Boog, and Pomade—were featured in the exhibition Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917

Digitized Books

Banner image: Tango s korovami: Zhelezobetonnyia poemy (Tango with Cows: Ferro-concrete Poems) (inner detail), Vasilii Kamenskii (Russian, 1884–1961), 1914. Getty Research Institute, 2872-062