When his lithograph Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge was released in 1919, Eliezer (El) Lissitzky not only became a visual voice of revolution; he also became one of the figureheads of Russian modernism. Before this auspicious creation, however, Lissitzky was ensconced in a deep contemplation of his own ethnic heritage, a moment captured in Alexander Kantsedikas' new volume, El Lissitzky: The Jewish Period(released October 2017 by Unicorn Publishing).
This striking new volume examines the body of work Lissitzky produced from 1916 to 1919, when the young artist was fully invested in the Jewish themes that had accompanied and enriched his childhood. From juxtaposing the rectilinear form of Hebrew script against the organic curves of Art Nouveau design to playing with color and form in illustrated Jewish narratives, Lissitzky can be seen at this point as experimenting both with the motifs of his cultural heritage and with the principles of design. Indeed, throughout the more than 500 assembled works illustrated in the text, one can see the transformation of Lissitzky from emerging artist to an undeniable design force.
El Lissitzky: The Jewish Period is a veritable catalogue raisonné of this portion of Lissitzky's career and is the first of its kind to delve so deeply into the themes and ideas the artist was experimenting with at the time. Lavish illustrations, combined with thought-provoking insights by author and Lissitzky expert Kantsedikas result in a volume that should not be missed by fans of twentieth-century modernism. Find your copy of El Lissitzky: The Jewish Period at Musebooks.