Pavel Tchelitchew  (Russian, 1898-1957) 

Known mainly for his painting and set design Pavel Tchelitchew (Russian, 1898–1957) spent his early years first studying art at the University of Moscow, from 1916 until 1918, and then at Kiev Academy until 1920. He also worked with Alexandra Exter in Kiev, and started working in theater in 1920, first in Odessa, then in Berlin. In 1923, he settled for a while in Paris where he cultivated a new style in his painting, resembling Surrealism but rooted in Russian Symbolism and his own brand of perspectival Cubism. He was involved in the avant-garde circle of Gertrude Stein, and in 1927, painted her portrait. In 1934, Tchelitchew moved to the United States. A series of paintings on the theme of the soul's journey to immortality occupied much of his oevre from the 1930s until his death. One of his most celebrated works is Hide and Seek (1940–1942)—in which the observer’s eye slowly adjusts from seeing a woman clinging to a tree, to children in the contours of the tree—exposes the similarity of forms and purpose between plants and humans. Tchelitchew delves deeper into the workings and forms of the body in his subsequent works, such as Itinerary for an Aerial Journey (Anatomical Head) (1945). In the last decade of his life, his works segued to abstraction. Throughout his life, Tchelitchew was renowned as a set designer because of his innovative use of material and lighting. His most-celebrated designs include the ballets Ode (1928), choreographed by Léonide Massine to music by Nicolas Nabokov, L’Errante (1933), choreographed by George Balanchine to music by Schubert, and Nobilissima Visione (St Francis) (1938), choreography by Massine to music by Paul Hindemith, as well as Jean Giraudoux’s play Ondine (1939). Tchelitchew became an American citizen in 1952, just before moving to Italy, where he pasted away in 1957.

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Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait of My Father


Pavel Tchelitchew
Portrait of My Father

Russian Art Salon
Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait Head


Pavel Tchelitchew
Portrait Head
circa 1947

William McWillie Chambers III
Pavel Tchelitchew, Acrobat


Pavel Tchelitchew
Richard Nathanson Impressionist & 20th Century Art
Pavel Tchelitchew, Three Spahis


Pavel Tchelitchew
Three Spahis

Richard Nathanson Impressionist & 20th Century Art
Pavel Tchelitchew, Portrait - Nature Morte


Pavel Tchelitchew
Portrait - Nature Morte
circa 1930

Whitford Fine Art
Pavel Tchelitchew, Sketch of the Museum of Modern Art Curator, Monroe Wheeler


Pavel Tchelitchew
Sketch of the Museum of Modern Art Curator, Monroe Wheeler

Hanover Square Gallery
Past auction results (1029)  View All
Pavel Tchelitchew, Trois têtes


Pavel Tchelitchew
Trois têtes, 1925
oil on canvas


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Pavel Tchelitchew, La mort de l'acrobate


Pavel Tchelitchew
La mort de l'acrobate, 1929
ink and wash on paper


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Pavel Tchelitchew, Costume Design for Balanchine Ballet The Cave of Sleep


Pavel Tchelitchew
Costume Design for Balanchine Ballet The Cave of Sleep, 1941
gouache, watercolor, ink and pencil on paper


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1898   Born Moscow, Russia
1918   Attends the Kiev Academy
1918   Makes street posters and stage sets for local theaters
1921 - 1923   Goes to Berlin, meets Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballet Russe
1923   Moves to Paris and begins easel painting
1934   Visits America, continues designing sets for ballets,in association with George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky
1957   Died
2000   Private Realisms: American Paintings 1934-1949, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT
1998   The Surrealist Vision: Europe and The Americas, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, FL
1998   Katonah Art Museum, Katonah, NY (solo)
1997   Surrealism and American Art 1932-1949, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
1994   Perceivable Realities (Eilshemius, Graves, Tanner and Tchelitchew), Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY
1993   Pavel Tchelitchew: Nature Transformed, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1992   Art of the 1940s, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1991   Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1964   Gallery of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
1952   Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI (solo)
1951   Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT (solo)
1950   Symbolic Realism in American Painting 1940 – 1950, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England
1949   Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Brazil (solo)
1942   Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
1938   Chicago Arts Club, Chicago, IL (solo)
1935   Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT (solo)
1935   Chicago Arts Club, Chicago, IL (solo)
1930   Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1926   Neo-Romantics, Galerie Druet, Paris, France
1925   Salon d'Automne, Paris, France
1924   Galerie Henri, Paris, France
1923   Galerie Flechtcheim, Berlin
1993    Pavel Tchelitchew: Nature Transformed. New York, NY: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, 1993