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 Pavel Tchelitchew

Born:   21 September 1898
Deceased:   31 July 1957

Russian artist, the founder of mystical surrealism 9 years prior to Salvador Dali


Pavel Fedorovich Tchelitchew was born (on September 21) on October 3, 1898 into the family of a landowner in Dubrovka Village of the Kaluga Region. The first teacher of Pavel Tchelitchew was his father, a mathematician by education – he acquainted Pavel with Lobachevsky's geometry, which led the future artist to the idea of “Internal mystical prospective”. In every possible way the father encouraged Pavel’s thirst for painting and even subscribed to the Art World journal. When Pavel's early landscapes of Dubrovka were showed to Konstantin Korovin, he said: “I have nothing to teach him. He is already an artist”. 

After 1918, when under Lenin's personal order the large family of Tchelitchew was evicted, Pavel Tchelitchew found himself in Kiev, where he took classes from Exter.  A bit later he emigrated to Istanbul, and then got over to Paris. In Paris Tchelitchew became a well-known theatrical artist of Sergey Diaghilev’s ballet troupe. 

Before the beginning of World War II the artist migrated to the USA. In 1942 his personal exhibition took place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was in the USA where Pavel Tchelitchew gained international acclaim as an artist. In 1949 he returned to Europe to live in Italy. In the late period of his creativity anatomic and landscape motives of his “internal landscapes” were more and more often replaced with abstractly “cosmic” patterns. 

On August 1 (according to other data on July 31), 1957 Pavel Fedorovich Tchelitchew died of a heart attack taken for pneumonia in Frascati near Rome, where he was initially buried in an orthodox monastery. Then his sister Alexander Zausaylova (Tchelitchewa) reburied his ashes in the Per-Lashez cemetery in France, but the first burial place has also been preserved.

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