Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Zvi Gitelman, Vladislav Ivanov, Jeffrey Veidlinger, Benjamin Harshav

Publication date:
25 Nov 2008
Yale University Press
256 pages: 286 x 222mm
84 b-w + 146 color illus.

Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet Jewish theaters became catalysts for modernist experimentation. Working with avant-garde playwrights, actors, and producers in a new political environment, artists such as Marc Chagall, Natan Altman, Robert Falk, and Aleksandr Tyshler combined Russian folk art with elements of Cubo-Futurism and Constructivism into a bold new style. This collaboration gave rise to extraordinary productions with highly original stage designs that redefined the concept of theater itself.


From the Jewish mythical and folkloric plays produced at Habima to the daring, expressionistic Yiddish dramas presented at the Moscow State Yiddish Theater (GOSET), this beautifully illustrated book chronicles the flourishing of Soviet Jewish theater in the 1920s and 1930s. Spanning such topics as Jewish culture and history in the Soviet Union, the volume includes stunning reproductions of Chagall’s celebrated theater murals; fascinating archival materials such as posters, prints, and playbills; designs for costumes and sets; and many other breathtaking works.

Susan Tumarkin Goodman is senior curator at The Jewish Museum. Her books include Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections and The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe.

"Excellent. . . . First-rate essays . . . introduce more than 200 colorful illustrations which beautifully demonstrate the creativity of the Jewish artists who brilliantly used their avant-garde competence to complement the experimental stage productions."—Morton I. Teicher, Buffalo Jewish Review

"The present volume . . . is most impressive. . . . No more informative or attractive book could possibly grace a library's collection or a coffee table. Highly recommended."—Choice

Finalist in the 2010 National Jewish Book Award in the Visual Arts Category sponsored by the Jewish Book Council