• Pavel Tchelitchew

    The Katonah Museum of Art

    Once upon a time, Pavel Tchelitchew’s giant fairy tale of a painting, Hide-and-Seek, 1940–42, was firmly enshrined in MoMA’S pantheon. With its fetal spirit-children and gnarled oak tree becoming at once a monstrous hand, foot, and head, it provided a grandly orchestrated finale for Surrealism’s regressions to our roots in infancy and nature. In 1954, Alfred Barr, in his Masters of Modern Art, summed up the painting’s embracing mysteries: “The tree of life becomes the clock of the seasons; its greens and fiery reds and wintry blues celebrate the annual cycle of death and rebirth.”

    Times change.

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