Russian Children's Books
CHAGALL, MARC, illustrator.
KAHANOVICH, PINCHUS ("DER NISTER"). A Mayse mit a hon; Dos tsigele [A Story About a Rooster and The Little Kid]. Petrograd: Vilner farlag fun B.A. Kletzin, 1917.
8vo. 30 pp. 8 illustrations by Marc Chagall. Original decorated wrappers. Overall discoloring and soiling, some water spots, rubber stamped "Provereno 1948g" [Checked in 1948] in Ukrainian on front wrapper.
RARE YIDDISH CHILDREN'S BOOK illustrated by Chagall. The first Yiddish book, and the only children's book to be illustrated by the great modern artist. The drawings of shtetl life are in the faux naif style of Chagall's other work at this time, combining Modernist elements with traditional Jewish iconography. The two tales in verse were composed by Pinchus Kahanovich, a major Yiddish author, philosopher, translator and critic. After Yiddish was outlawed in 1948, all books in this language had to be reviewed by the censors. When Stalin installed this last pogrom to finally destroy the remaining Jewish culture in the USSR, "Der Nister" (the Hidden One) was arrested in 1947 and died in the Gulag.