El Lissitzky: A Russian Avant-Garde Landmark Work

Among the highlights of Swann’s Art, Press & Illustrated Books auction on Thursday is Mikhail Larionov’s copy of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Dlia Golosa [For the Voice], which was designed by Lazar Markovich (aka El Lissitzky). It is featured among items in the sale from the inventory of the late Irving Oaklander.


Lissitzky’s design, including a title-page photomontage and pictograms that mix typography and abstract motifs, accompanies 13 poems by Mayakovsky that were meant to be read aloud–thus the title. The book represents an important period in the development of Constructivist design by Lissitzky. The typography was the result of a collaboration by the artist and author to give new dimension to the printed word on the page, and became a major influence on western European art, particularly the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements. 

This copy is of particular significance, as it was once in the collection of Russian avant-grade painter Mikhail Larionov, and has his stamp on the front cover and copyright page.