El Lissitzky. Had Gadya (A Single Kid). Kultur-Lige. 1919.

El Lissitzky illustrated this avant-garde version of the Passover song “Had gadya” early in his career, while immersed in the Jewish cultural renaissance that flourished in Russia from roughly 1912 to the early 1920s. Lithographs with Yiddish text, this is one of only a few copies known to exist. – Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

I can’t believe I’m seeing this on my dash!!! Just two weeks ago I heard a phenomenal paper about this lithograph from art historian and curator Jessica Brier entitled “A Yiddish-Modernist Puzzle: El Lissitzky’s Chad Gadya and the Revolutionary Avant-Garde.” Unfortunately the paper isn’t online (yet), but if I remember her argument, she demonstrated how this book is a fascinating demonstration of Lissitzky’s modernist concerns (both aesthetically and politically) within the framework of Jewish book history. A beautiful book! The last image in particular, with the hand of G!d ( / Soviet revolution?) the slain Death ( / Czar?), the escaping goat — is stunning. 

Can’t wait for Passover!

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