Aleksandr Tyshler

( 26.07.1898 - 26.06.1980)  


 was a Russian modernist painter, in particular, notable as a stage designer.


Tyshler was born in 1898 in Melitopol, in a Jewish family. His father, Grigory Tyshler, was a joiner.

In 1912, Tyshler was accepted in Kiev Art School, which he graduated from in 1917.

Soon afterwards, the Russian Civil War started, and he was unable to travel back to Melitopol.

Tyshler stayed in Kiev and started to visit the workshop of Aleksandra Ekster which was also the place heavily visited by the intellectual elite of the city.

In 1919, he signed up for the Red Army, and in 1920 he returned to Melitopol, where he married Anastasia Grozdova the same year.

In 1921, Tyshler moved to Moscow.


In Moscow, Tyshler got close to futurist circles.

He worked in painting and graphics, in particular, as a book illustrator. In this period, he was mostly interested in abstract compositions showing details of some mechanical equipment. On the other hand, the graphics was mainly figurative and, in particular, showed some themes related to the Civil War, as well as landscapes of Crimea.


Starting from 1926, when Tyshler was invited to design a stage for a play in BelGOSET, the state Jewish theater in Minsk, he also started to work as a stage designer. His second stage design was for Fuenteovejuna by Lope de Vega. He was subsequently invited to the State Jewish Theater in Kharkiv, and, in the 1930s, to Romen Theatre in Moscow. Tyshler worked with Romen Theatre until 1940 and made the stage design for most of their performances of that period. In the 1930s, he also produced many paintings on topics associated with the Russian Revolution and Civil war, as well as related to the topis of his stage design, such as a large cyclus on Romani life. Tyshler's paintings before 1936 are considered the early period of his art.


Aleksander Tyshler was one of the most original masters of the Soviet art. In mid 1920s he formed his own recognizable style, which was based on lyrical expression and surrealistic grotesque; his style did not change till the end of artist’s life. Tyshler often varied the same fanciful phantasmagoric images, traditional theatre characters, masks, fairy-tale heroes. His works were full of allegories, poetic metaphors and mystical symbolism.


It is very difficult to attribute Aleksander Tyshler to any art direction of the 20th century. He was one of the few artists, who did not join to the socialist realism. Since 1930s while working in theatre Tyshler did not expose his easel works till the Ottepel (“the Thaw”). It earned him immense prestige with young artists. Tyshler exerted influence on the development of the non-official art of 1960s–1970s.


Works by Aleksander Tyshler are in mane private and museum collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

Aleksandr Tyshler - Graphics




Lady with vase