Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin (Владимир Евграфович Татлин) (1885-1953)
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Vladimir Tatlin was an important painter and architect of the Russian avant-garde and Constructivist art movement of the 1920s. While Tatlin worked in many genres he is most known for his designs and model of “The Monument to the Third International.”
Tatlin was born in 1885 in the town of Kharkiv, Ukraine and spent his early adult years as a merchant sea cadet. Tatlin’s early work experiences aloud him to travel outside of homeland and further develop his interests and beliefs. Tatlin eventually decided to go into the graphic arts, starting his career as an icon painter in Moscow. Tatlin received formal art training in Russia at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he met other leading artists and designers.
Tatlin’s creative titles spanned from visual artist, architect, designer to experimental musician (performing at the 1906 World Fair in Paris). Tatlin’s politically loaded work jumpstarted the Russian Post-Revolutionary Constructivist movement in art. Tatlin questioned the traditional methods of painting by creating relief structures, which were installed in wall corners. The structures were not only creative for their innovative use of materials, but their unorthodox positioning. Tatlin would use geometric-shaped pieces of wood and metal to create his unique structures.
While Tatlin’s design for the Monument to the Third International was never actualized, it has become an iconic image in Constructivist Art. The monument was designed to be 1300 feet high (a third taller than the Eiffel Tower). Tatlin envisioned the tower to be made from identical, iron and steel spirals. The tower would also include a cube, pyramid and cylinder, which would rotate at yearly, monthly and daily intervals.
At the end of Tatlin’s career, he focused on apparel and industrial design, creating conceptual garment and object designs. Tatlin’s final project was an investigation of flight, in hopes of creating a bird-like, flying suit for humans.
Tatlin’s many designs and concepts continue to be studied by artists, architects and engineers. Tatlin’s corner-constructions and more conventional paintings and drawings are also highly valuable pieces. Tatlin’s work is now in major, international collections. Do you think you own a piece by Vladimir Tatlin? Contact us. We are the experts on Vladimir Tatlin.