An exceptionally rare and beautiful stone lithograph poster by A. Vasileev for the first Russian release of Edison, the Man in 1944. The film was the second of a pair of complementary biopics released by MGM in 1940, spanning the life of legendary inventor Thomas Edison. Young Tom Edison, starring Mickey Rooney, was released two months earlier and told the story of Edison's youth, while Edison, the Man starred Spencer Tracey in a thought-provoking, albeit somewhat fictionalised, portrait of the mature inventor throughout his most creative period. Demonstrating the influence of the avant-garde Constructivist posters of the 1920s Bolshevik period, with their abstract composition, juxtaposition of scale and vivid, contrasting tones, the vast disembodied portrait of Rita Johnson as Edison's wife Mary Stillwell dominates the composition, looming over a dynamic illustration of the inventor at work, against a palette reminiscent of the American flag. Surviving posters from the time of the Great Patriotic War, as the Russians refer to WWII, are extremely rare, due to severe wartime paper shortages which meant that the majority of poster paper was recycled or reused, on top of which very few posters made it out of Russia after WWII due to the Cold War.
Very Good (B+)
Conservation backed on linen. Backing has smoothed and diminished one vertical and two horizontal folds, minor nicks and creases to corners and edges and a minor ⅝in. tear to right margin. A minor restoration to tip of lower left corner. Slight discolouration to white ground around folds. Image and colours otherwise excellent.