29.04 (12.05).1903, Tiflis – 01.10.1969, Moscow
Graphic artist, designer, typeface designer

The son of a graphic artist, set designer and interior designer, Telingater lived in Baku from 1910. A supporter of left-wing tendencies in art, at the age of 16 he was driven out of the house by his father because of aesthetic disagreements. He studied in Baku in 1919–20, and in 1920 was sent to VKhUTEMAS in Moscow to continue his artistic training. While studying at the Faculty of Graphic Art with Vladimir Favorsky he also designed the newspaper Yunosheskaya pravda (Young Peoples’ Truth). He had to return to Baku in 1921 because of extreme emaciation caused by constant malnutrition. He headed an arts studio for homeless children at the House of Red Youth, worked for Baku’s newspapers and designed book layouts. He moved to Moscow permanently at the end of 1925. He collaborated with various publishing houses and produced the jackets for books. At the All-Union Polygraphic Exhibition in 1927 he was awarded a certificate for his artistic work involving printed material. He was co-author with El Lissitzky of the Guide to the All-Union Polygraphic Exhibition. In the same year he was invited to join the editorial board of the journal Poligraficheskoye proizvodstvo (Polygraphic Production). When designing the layout for Alexander Bezymensky’s poem Komsomoliya in 1928 he used the revolutionary techniques of photomontage. He had recourse to the same techniques when designing revolutionary celebrations and shows for the Theatre of the Red Army. He took part in the ‘Press’ exhibition in Cologne (1928) and the Salon International du Livre d’Art in Paris in 1931. In 1933 he was appointed artistic editor for Partizdat, the publishing house of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks). At an exhibition in Paris in 1937 the publishing house was awarded a gold medal for artistic book design, including for photomontages that Telingater did for Stalin’s Results of the First Five-Year Plan, and for a copy of the Constitution of the USSR specially printed for the exhibition, which was tooled and decorated with gems. During the Second World War he worked for the newspaper Boevoe znamya (Battle Flag) and was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Order of the Patriotic War, First and Second Classes, and four medals. He joined the Communist Party in 1943. When a new wave of terror started in 1947 he was expelled from the Party. He had prepared for printing a ‘Black Book’ by Ehrenburg and Grossman about Nazi crimes against the Jews during the war, but after the murder of Mikhoels and the start of an anti-Semitic campaign in the country it was banned. By some miracle he avoided arrest, but was left with hardly any work. After Stalin’s death he worked for the revue Iskusstvo kino (Cinema Art), designed books, produced typefaces and took part in exhibitions. In 1963 he was awarded the Gutenberg Prize for his achievements in designing books and typefaces. F.B.

Telingater