When the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, young artists exulted. They thronged to the vanguard and championed art’s capacity to stun. Just as political leaders had toppled the establishment, creative revolutionaries aimed to knock the visual world off balance.
The Soviet Union was unique in its formidable and dynamic use of the illustrated book as a means of propaganda. Through the book, the U.S.S.R. articulated its totalitarian ideologies and expressed its absolute power in an unprecedented way—through avant-garde writing and radical artistic design that was in full flower during the 1920s and ’30s. No other country, nation, government or political system promoted itself more by attracting and employing acclaimed members of the avant-garde.
The Soviet Photobook 1920–1941 presents 160 of the most stunning and elaborately produced photobooks from this period and includes more than 400 additional reference illustrations. The book also provides short biographies of the photobook contributors, some of whom are presented here for the first time.