Pavel Tchelitchew

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Pavel Tchelitchew
Leaves turned into Children
Pen and black ink with gray wash on paper.
11 13/16 x 8 3/4 inches (300 x 222 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. In this study from the McCrindle collection, Tchelitchew explores the metamorphoses of children into the form of leaves, resulting in a playful, fairytale-like image. Studies such as the McCrindle sheet, which the artist produced throughout the year 1939, were central to the creation of Tcehlitchew's masterpiece Hide and Seek (1940-42) in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, a monumental allegorical painting depicting a massive tree transforming into the ghosts of lost children. Many of these drawings of leaf children were also used to illustrate the Parker Tyler's (1904-1974) long poem "Yesterday's Children" (1944), in which he describes Tchelitchew's child characters as follows: "They are leaves, nudged by the wind / Leaf boys and boyleaves, each into which: / Both playful, fallen and blowing / Both caught, each flying, each / Gifted with wings, and flying to the long music" (Tyler and Tchelitchew 1944, n.p.). Works cited: Michael Duncan, Pavel Tchelitchew: The Landscape of the Body, exh. cat. (New York: Katonah Museum of Art, 1998); Pavel Tchelitchew and Parker Tyler, Yesterday's Children (New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1944).


Inscribed at lower right in pen and black ink, "P. Tchelitchew 1939".

Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. C0158).
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