Boris Grigoriev

(1886 - 1939)


Sasha Chernyi

Десткий остров

Children's island

Danzig: Slovo, 1920

318 x 262 mm. 158 pages.

Edition: unknown


Chernyi and Grigoriev first met in the early 1910s when they both worked for the satirical weekly Satyricon. They renewed their friendship in Berlin, where they both had fled after the revolution. This reunion resulted in the publication of this early Russian émigré children’s book, published by a daughter-firm of the big Berlin based Ullstein firm. Contrary to publication date found in the book, it was published in early December 1920, when it was discussed in Russkii Emigrant [Russian emigrant] No.6. At that time Grigoriev’s son Cyril was 5˝ years old, which, apparently, was one of incentives for the artist to participate in this production. One of the drawings in the book shows his son asleep in his cot, another shows him as a baby. Many of the drawings are inspired by the Raseia drawings, some are downright copies in part of the cycle. In fact these illustrations, even the ones showing his son (he also added a portrait of his son as Weltkind to the cycle), must be considered an addition to Raseia. Only the animals from the ZOO must be excluded: there are no elephants or monkeys living in the Russian countryside. All these illustrations show a playful artist, friendly and humorous, who clearly intends the cover to look like a children’s drawing.


Russki Emigrant1920:6, p.10

Moskou 1986, p.241-243

JDPA 1989:11, p.93

Stommels 1993 p. 52

Getty 1997 nr. 130

Vienna 2004, nr. 22.