back to index

book (design) story #21

sir walter citrine:
auf wahrheitssuche in russland

jean christophe-verlag, zürich, 1938
printer: unionsdruckerei bern
size: 22 x 14 cm
designer: richard paul lohse

Book image

by the the mid-1930s some western socialists were getting disillusioned about stalin's soviet union. the british union leader sir walter citrine (1887-1983) visited russia in 1935 and first published this critical, diary style report in 1936. this is the first german edition.

Book image

richard paul lohse (1902-1988) is credited in the impressum for designing the cover and dustjacket. the raw linen cover bears ranged-left text in narrow sans-serif capitals. the photographic jacket visualizes the content of the book in a strong symbolic design: a lamp literally tries to "shed some light" on a dark map of russia. and the writing, though in a neutral akzidenz-grotesk, is on a rather pessimistic "downhill" slope – quite the opposite of bill's cover design for "blitzfahrt" (story 20)! on the jacket's spine, citrine's name is pointing downwards, too.

lohse explained in a later text that in those difficult years he was losing his faith in the "optimistic" diagonal (from the lower left to the upper right) that he also used in his painting under the influence of russian avant-garde art. considering this i think that in the "rosa luxemburg" jacket (story 13), designed for the same publisher a year before, a similar pessimism is expressed by the downwards movement of the red flag procession. see also my next story.

Book image

book (design) stories home
index of published book (design) stories