MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


55. TCHELITCHEW, PAVEL 1898-1957

Head signed, numbered "III" and dated 1949

Pastel on black paper, laid on cardboard, 33 by 25 cm
20,000-25,000 GBP

One of the most interesting artists of the 20th century, Pavel Tchelitchew is represented here by the striking pastel Head, dated 1949. This was the period when he was again generating a philosophical basis to his creative research, systematically modifying the material structure of his subjects. His revolutionary “interior landscapes”, filled with luminous force, of 1944–1946 left many of Tchelitchew’s contemporaries in a state of aesthetic shock, and the critics did not immediately appreciate the “pseudophysiologicality” of the artist’s new series, drawing only primitive parallels with a handbook of anatomical diagrams. The series of “wireframe heads” was the logical conclusion to Tchelitchew’s research into the human form, proposing an original rendering of man’s “exterior” essence. Form and volume are achieved here by means of regular, horizontally-structured lines, as if with an invisible axis of rotation. The artist’s numbering of the work seems to us to be totally normal. Certainly we cannot say unequivocally whether it has any real connection with the previous and following works in the series but probably, in the context of Tchelitchew, it has a distinct basis in logical consistency.

Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.