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Olga Rozanova. Utinoe gnezdyshko... durnykh slov  (A Little Duck's Nest... of Bad Words). 1913

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Olga Rozanova (Russian, 1886–1918)

Utinoe gnezdyshko... durnykh slov (A Little Duck's Nest... of Bad Words)

Aleksei Kruchenykh
Book with fifteen lithographs with gouache and watercolor additions
page (each, irreg.): 7 3/8 x 4 13/16" (18.8 x 12.2 cm)
unknown, St. Petersburg
Credit Line:
Gift of The Judith Rothschild Foundation
MoMA Number:

Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 78

Olga Rozanova was an important member of the Russian avant-garde group that flourished during the early part of the twentieth century. In fact, she was often referred to as one of the "amazons" of the group. Deeply involved in the artistic community in Saint Petersburg, Rozanova was an active public speaker, a contributor to numerous exhibitions, and a participant in a variety of state-sponsored artistic teaching programs before her untimely death from diphtheria in 1918.

One of the hallmarks of the Russian avant-garde was a particularly close and fertile collaboration between poets and painters, which led to pioneering experiments in the medium of the illustrated book. Rozanova contributed to more than fifteen such projects during her short career. Her interest was in creating an overall design rather than in simply making accompanying illustrations. In this respect she rejected traditional book production. Collaborations with her companion, Russian Futurist poet Aleksei Kruchenykh, including A Little Duck's Nest . . . of Bad Words, demonstrate her success at achieving a new unity and syncopation of text and imagery.

Rozanova considered the portfolio War to be her crowning achievement in printmaking, especially since she printed the linoleum cuts herself. She included colors and incorporated collage elements in some of her designs. Her imagery is influenced both by the abstracted forms of Cubism and Futurism, as well as by traditional Russian motifs such as those found in the lubok (popular, centuries-old illustrated Russian broadsides). Short verses by Kruchenykh provided some text, but Rozanova also added actual items from newspapers reporting on the war, which she integrated into her compositions, as in Excerpt from a Newspaper Bulletin.

Sarah Suzuki

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