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Eastern European Modernism: Works on Paper at the Columbia University Libraries and the Cornell University Library

Davis, Robert H.; Mansbach, Steven; Denischenko, Irina M.

This compendium is more than an extensive register of two of the world’s most consequential institutional holdings of progressive works on paper. Indeed, it is a material affirmation of the extraordinary inventive prowess, the stunning artistic achievements, and the daring visual scope of creative figures from the Baltic north to the Balkan south during almost a half-century of their most audacious ambitions. Thus, the works on paper documented here, and the essays contextualizing them, represent a benchmark of aesthetic accomplishment, of scholarly appraisal, and of academic accessibility. Each of the hundreds of brief bibliographical analyses offers an incisive and lucid introduction to the two universities’ libraries’ rich array of modernist pamphlets, booklets, broadsides, and advertising copy that collectively encompass and define the modern world – from the arts to politics to commerce to sexuality. In its encyclopedic breadth, this compendium reveals the visual potency and inventive aesthetic strategies that shaped not only eastern Europe during the first decades of the twentieth century, but ultimately determined how we have come to see ourselves. (Steven Mansbach, Univ. of Maryland)

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January 7, 2021