Pavel Tchelitchew

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Pavel Tchelitchew
Three Heads into Trees
Pen and brown ink with brown wash on paper (Strathmore Artist).
14 11/16 x 11 1/16 inches (373 x 281 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 metamorphosis of children's heads into the form of trees, resulting in a fanciful, 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. In this sheet, the heads of the children appear to grow directly from the ground, their translucent bodies fusing with the craggy limbs of the trees.


Inscribed in brown ink, "P. Tchelichew 39".

Joseph F. McCrindle, New York (McCrindle collection no. C0174).
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