Had gadya, (The Only Kid) Facsimile of El Lissitzky's Edition of 1919
Stylized Aramaic and Yiddish calligraphy move through each composition like the melody of the song.
Edited by Arnold J. Band with an introduction by Nancy Perloff.
The Russian avant-garde artist El Lissitzky (1890 - 1941) created this enchanting illustrated version of the Passover song "Had gadya" which had been evolving in the oral tradition since the fifteenth century.
By 1919 when the lithographs for this project came into book form, El Lissitzky was "focused almost exclusively on the study of Jewish folk culture and the design and illustration of books in Yiddish," according to curator Nancy Perloff of the Getty Research Institute.
This edition offers not only a facsimile of Lissitzky's lively original - including the rarely seen wraparound cover - but also a nuanced introduction by Ms. Perloff anchoring the work in its cultural and artistic contexts.
The book includes sections on its imaginary and polyglot vocabulary, a new English translation of the song from Lissitzky's Yiddish, and lyrics set to the song.
Getty Research Institute, original edition 1919, facsimile 2004