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 Pavel Tchelitchew   (1898-1957)

  Figures on Rocks (Study for Phenomena)
  • ink and ink and gouache on paper laid down on board laid down on board, 1935
  • signed and dated 35 upper left recto
  • board size 20" x 14" (50.8 x 35.6 cm.)
  • Literature:  Eugene Berman - Pavel Tchelitchew:
    Neo-Romantic Master Works from the 1930's & 1940's
    Gallery of Surrealism, NY, 2005, p.12
According to the artist, the inspiration for Phenomena came to him first as he looked at the famous bronze door of the church of San Zeno Maggiore at Verona....He next completed nearly thirty-five gouaches of figures and scenes, most of which later found their way into Phenomena....and one has only to look at them to realize how far Tchelitchew had left behind the open pathos of his early career as a Neo-Romantic. Their ruthless commentary on the freakish aspects of contemporary civilization removes them immeasurably from the clowns of 1929-30, reclining in melancholy torpor. Tchelitchew's oils and gouaches of 1935 are the work of a man roused from despair and somnambulist escape to speak in harsh accents against the defacement, cheapness and contradicitions of his era. They are images springing from nerves rubbed raw, expressed through a fantasy which is in part instinctive and generic, in part consciously satirical.
   -James Thrall Soby, Tchelitchew: Paintings-Drawings, MoMA, NY, 1942, p.28
Pavel Tchelitchew - Figures on Rocks (Study for Phenomena) - 1935 ink and gouache on paper laid down on board enlarge in new window

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