Nov 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009

For the Voice

13 poems written by Vladimir Mayakovsky

For the Voice


El Lissitzky Gosudarstvenoe Izadatelstvo

(Russian, 1890–1941)

Book containing 61 pages with letterpress designs printed in red and black ink; cover printed in red and black ink on orange paper

Support: Wove paper bound and stapled within a heavy stock wove cover

Sheet: 18.5 x 13 cm (7 5/16 x 5 1/8 in.); Cover: 18.7 x 13.4 cm (7 3/8 x 5 1/4 in.)

Gift of various donors to the department of Prints and Drawings 2002.60



The radically innovative For the Voice is considered to be El Lissitzky's most spectacular achievement in book illustration, or "book construction" as the artist described his work. A champion of Russian Constructivism, Lissitzky used pure, abstract forms to express progressive social values and his hope of transforming the world through science and technology on both a private and public level. In his designs for this book, Lissitzky mixed fonts and turned variously sized letters in different directions amid a cacophony of squares and circles and diagonal, vertical, and horizontal stripes. Printing the image in black and red, he aimed to capture and keep the viewer's attention. Lissitzky's inventiveness extended to the page margins, which are stepped like an address book to form an index to the poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky, the Russian avant-garde author whose voice resounded throughout the 1920s. The collection of 13 poems is meant to be read aloud—hence, the title.

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