In the wake of glasnost, Russia has become very much a capitalist item, at least in the architecture and design book trade. Two of this season's more attractive, and pricey, offerings is "Russian Art Nouveau," by Elena Borisova and Grigory Sternin, and "Tatlin," edited by Larissa Aleksevna, both published by Rizzoli, and costing $95 and $75, respectively.
"Russian Art Nouveau" explores the development of the sinuous, ornamental style in pre-Revolutionary Russia, as applied to a range of materials and designs. The effort is lushly illustrated with exquisite photographs of interiors and exteriors, stained-glass windows, lighting fixtures, furniture and a Czar's ransom of jewelry, tableware, sculpture, paintings and clothing. The total is a feast for the eyes.
"Tatlin" is a heavily documented and well-illustrated collection of the writings, designs and art of Vladimir Tatlin, one of the more influential Soviet artists of the 20th Century who somehow survived as an avant-gardist under the heel of Stalin's represssive regime. The effort is more oriented to the scholar.