Vladimir Tatlin

Born: 1885, Moscow
Died: 1953, Moscow

Painter, graphic artist, designer, illustrator. Ran away to sea and sailed to Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Libya (1898) and many Mediterranean ports (1904–08). Studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1902–03, 1909–10), under Ilya Goryushkin-Sorokopudov and Alexei Afanasiev at the Nikolai Seliverstov School of Art in Penza (1905–07) and at the private studios of Jan Ciaglińskj, Mikhail Bernstein and Ilya Mashkov in St Petersburg and Moscow. Took part in the first ever application of avant-garde art in the Russian theatre, designing the sets and costumes for a production of Mikhail Bonch-Tomashevsky’s folk drama King Maxemian and his Disobedient Son Adolf at the Moscow Circle of Literature and Art (1911). Opened a studio on Ostozhenka in Moscow (1912). Illustrated the works of Alexei Kruchenykh and Velimir Khlebnikov (1912) and Vladimir Mayakovsky (1913). Member of the Union of Youth (1913) and the Unification of New Trends in Art (1922–23). Accompanied an exhibition of Russian art to Berlin and visited Pablo Picasso’s studio in Paris (1914). Returned to Moscow and created assemblages called painterly reliefs, corner reliefs and counter-reliefs, which he exhibited at his studio (1914). Helped Alexander Rodchenko and Georgy Yakulov to design the interior of the Café Pittoresque in Moscow (1917). Chairman of the Trade Union of Artists in Moscow (1917) and head of the museum department of IZO Narkompros (1918–19). Taught at the State Free Art Studios in Moscow (1918–20) and Petrograd (1919–24), Kiev Institute of Art (1925–27) and the VKhUTEIN in Moscow (1927–30). Designed the Monument to the Third International (1919–20) and the Letatlin glider (1929–32). Founding member of the Institute of Artistic Culture (1922) and head of the department of material culture (1923–25). Staged a performance of Velimir Khlebnikov’s dramatic poem Zangezi at the Institute of Artistic Culture (1923). Headed the Scientific Research Laboratory of the Plastic Arts (1929–32). Accused of Formalism (1933) and forced to return to theatrical design and figurative painting (1935). Suffered the destruction of his “politically harmful” panels for the All-Union Exhibition of Agriculture (1938). Worked for Lev Rudnev’s studio of architecture and headed the team of artists designing Moscow University textbooks (1940s). Died of food poisoning in Moscow and buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery (1953). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1909). Contributed to the Second Vladimir Izdebsky Salon (1910–11), Union of Youth (1910–14), Donkey’s Tail (1912), World of Art (1912–13), Modern Painting (1912–14), Knave of Diamonds (1913), Target (1913), Tramway V First Futurist Exhibition (1915), 0.10 Last Futurist Exhibition (1915–16), Store (1916) and Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925). One-man shows in Stockholm (1967) and Moscow (1977). Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1931).

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