Ivan Bilibin

Once Upon a Canvas: Exploring Fairy Tale Illustrations from 1870-1942

Ivan Bilibin (1876-1942)
Ivan Bilibin was born in 1876 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His first inspiration for illustrating fairy tales came from the Russian folktales he was told growing up. He also had a great love for the remote Russian countryside, and incorporated the Russian landscape into many of his illustrations. At the turn of the 20th century, his watercolors of the Russian wilderness earned him a commission from a member of The Department for the Production of State Documents to illustrate a series of fairytale books. Some of the titles he illustrated include: Vasilisa the Beautiful (1900), The Firebird and the Grey Wolf (1899), Maria Morevna (1900), Sister Alyonushka and Brother Ivanushka (1901), and The White Duck (1902). He continued illustrating Russian folktales and fairytales throughout his life, but also successfully worked as a stage designer for ballets and operas in France, moving to Paris in 1925. In 1936 he returned to his beloved Russia. He died in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during the siege in February 1942.
-Sloan Blaylock