Vladimir Evgrafovich Tatlin

Tatlin, Vladimir Evgrafovich

 

Born Dec. 16 (28), 1885, in Moscow; died there May 31, 1953. Soviet painter, graphic artist, and stage designer.

Tatlin studied under V. A. Serov and K. A. Korovin at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1902–03 and 1909–10 and attended the Penza Art School from 1904 to 1909. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Moscow Vkhutemas (State Higher Arts and Technical Studios) and from 1927 to 1930 at the Moscow Vkhutein (State Higher Arts and Technical Institute). He taught at the Petrograd Academy of Arts from 1921 to 1925 and at the Kiev Art Institute from 1925 to 1927.

Denying realistic representation in art, Tatlin originally worked in the styles of cubism and futurism, as seen in The Model (1913, Tret’iakov Gallery, Moscow). In Soviet times, however, he tended more toward constructivism. He designed structures of glass, metal, and wood in the 1920’s and abandoned his experimentation with formal art, which had led him only to the blind alley of abstract art. He designed consumer goods for mass production and participated in the production arts movement. Tatlin helped introduce modern design in the USSR, creating plans for the ornithopter Letatlin (“Flying Tatlin,” 1930–31, Museum of the History of Aviation, Moscow), as well as furniture, ceramic ware, and clothing. He also designed a monument to the Third International (tower of iron, glass, wood; not preserved). He designed more than 80 theatrical productions, including Ostrovskii’s Comedian of the 17th Century (1935, Second Moscow Academic Art Theater) and A. A. Kron’s Distant Reconnaissance (1943, Moscow Academic Art Theater).

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