A crisply rendered jazz age take on Adam & Eve and temptation within The Garden of Eden; this was created for the important 1932 Random House hardcover edition of George Gershwin’s Song-Book. This gouache painting illustrated the 1926 Gershwin song “Do Do Do” from the musical “Oh Kay.” A recent New York City Christie’s auction for a leather bound signed and numbered first edition of the songbook signed by both Alajalov and Gershwin brought $4207.00 with buyers premiums illustrating the significance and historic beauty of this unique pairing of talents.
Constantin Alajalov is best known for the covers he painted for The New Yorker magazine, he created poignant yet ironically satirical works with a sophistication appreciated by the intellectually inclined speakeasy set that called New York City it’s playground during the art deco era. This painting is beautifully framed and matted behind glass in a period gold gesso frame.
From the age of 16 when the Russian Revolution scuttled his university education, until 25 when he had his first New Yorker cover published, Constantin Alajàlov (1900-1987) whirled through an array of jobs in Russia, Persia, Turkey & New York, ranging from sign painter to portrait painter to court painter, engaging everything from poetry illustrations to murals.
Alajálov was the only artist to have painted covers for both The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post, somehow managing to overcome their apparent agreement of mutual exclusivity.