Pavel Tchelitchew

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Pavel Tchelitchew
Study of a Youth - Arterial System
Pen and brown ink, with black ink and brown wash on laid paper.
13 1/8 x 9 3/8 inches (333 x 238 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.

Pavel Tchelitchew, a Russian-born American surrealist, was a highly accomplished draftsmen and figurative artist, best known for his complex allegories exploring the relationship between humans and elements from the natural landscape. Throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, he developed a range of imagery in which the human body underwent a metamorphosis resulting in a union with the natural world, culminating in his masterpiece Hide and Seek (1940-42) in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Following the creation of this painting, Tchelitchew embarked on a series of "Interior Landscapes" in which he inverted the process of transformation from his earlier work, now presenting a vision of the human exterior and its microcosmic interior structures and processes. In this pen-and-ink drawing from the McCrindle collection, the artist represents a classically posed male nude, the complex internal networks of his body's circulatory and nervous system in plain view. Tchelitchew was attempting to see the human form, in his own words, "as in a crystal transparent vase" which would permit "a coming and going--the beginning and pulsation of the life of the object" (Duncan 1998, p.14, n. 33). While Tchelitchew reveals the interior structures of the body, he also renders them in a manner suggesting a form of topographical mapping on the surface of the body. The boundaries between interior and exterior are dissolved, offering the viewer a more holistic view of the dynamic human body.
Works cited: Michael Duncan, Pavel Tchelitchew: The Landscape of the Body, exh. cat. (New York: Katonah Museum of Art, 1998).
Watermark: "BEVERLY".


Inscribed at lower right, in pen and brown ink, "P. Tchelitchew 40".

Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. A1495).
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