Tatjana Glebova (1900 - 1985)

Where Am I ?

A Bookof Hidden Things

London: Redstone Press, 2016
[12]fol., 10 colour images
19 x 26,5 cm, col. cardboard covers

The book and its history

As part of a bibliophile box set of games entitled Play Box, this book was first published by the remarkable but small fine art book company Redstone Press in 2008 in a smaller paperback format. This larger-format edition followed in 2016. The book was created in 1928 in connection with the Moscow children's publishing house Raduga (Rainbow), which between 1922 and 1930 published a wide range of partly avant-garde picture books. After the October Revolution it was deemed essential to build a new world in which children were to play a decisive role. During these years, books offered authors and visual artists a broad platform for new, experimental designs both in terms of educational concepts and aesthetics.
Glebova's ten simple-looking colour plates are arranged as search images, which demand close attention from children. Finding the figures and objects identified in the text is no easy task, especially since the artist varies proportions. Using the two colours red and light blue in combination with black and white, she creates an apparent uniformity, which she counteracts/balances with patterns alternating between coarse strokes and fine details, calm, hatched, and speckled surfaces, which contrast with the realistic reproduction of specific details. The structure, partly naive, partly dissolving the forms, places this small work in the context of the so-called analytical art of her teacher, Pavel Filonov, which has deeply influenced parts of her work.

Biographical note

Tatiana Glebova, born 1900 in St. Petersburg, died 1985 in Petrodvorets, is a well-known Soviet Russian painter, graphic artist, illustrator, and stage designer.
After studying music at the Petrograd Conservatory, she turned to painting in 1925 and became a student of the artist Pavel Filonov (1883 - 1941). She was a member of the Analytical Art group, a movement that set the concept of the organic against the Cubist and abstract formal language of the time. Filonov is not concerned with the external form, but with inner functions and processes.
In the second half of the 1920s Glebova illustrated children's books for the renowned Moscow children's book publisher Raduga and for various children's magazines, among others. Glebova's works are mainly to be found in major Russian museums.

Literature/Links

Inside the Rainbow. Russian Children’s Literature 1920 – 1935.
(ed. Julian Rothenstein, Olga Budashevskaya), London: Redstone Press 2013

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