National Museum of Women in the Arts
Vera Khlebnikova
April 28 1954 - present
Photograph of Vera Khlebnikova, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
(VEE-YAIR)-ah khlehb-NEE-kah-vah
Work Type/Media:
Books and manuscripts, Drawings and prints, Installation Art
Artistic Role(s):
Book Artist, Collagist, Designer, Illustrator, Installation Artist, Mixed Media Artist , Serigrapher
Artist's Biography:
Vera Khlebnikova was brought up in a family that safeguarded its literary and artistic heritage. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandmother were artists; her great-uncle was a poet. Khlebnikova tried to preserve not only the works and documents of her family but also the archives of unknown people, which she acquired by chance. For many years, her installations, collages, screenprints, and artist books have been related to this wish to save the evidences of forgotten fates.

By inclusion of the original documents, photos, and manuscripts in her works, Khlebnikova often uses computer facilities, looking for a balance between life and art. The structure and features of the material, from which the book is made, help to express her idea.

The artists' books by Khlebnikova are sometimes very laborious, one copy sometimes takes a hundred hours of work. Meanwhile, other book projects require rather modest and simple means.

Khlebnikova graduated from the University of Print, Faculty of Graphic Design; book illustration and design is her profession. She taught drawing and painting in Moscow, at the same University, from which she graduated, and in Ankara, Turkey. At the Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria, she taught the course on artists’ books.

Among numerous books made for Russian and foreign publishers, there are books written by her. They are quite different from a tale for children up to 2 years old, which she wrote and illustrated for a Japanese publisher.

But the artist's book is liberty; liberty from the publisher's dictatorship, from the terms prescribed by the printing house. Such a unique book existing sometimes in a single copy is addressed to few amateurs and connoisseurs, and this fact also gives liberty and makes it more clear to those, who take or see this book. There is also liberty in the absence of the exact formula of what namely can be considered as an artist's book.

The book in all its aspects is the way to associate, to collect material, to give it shape and rhythm, to make it an object, a thing. Once in her childhood, when one has to think out the answer to such traditional question of future profession, Khlebnikova answered that she would make books, write and illustrate. From one year to another, this is closer and closer to the truth: books are taking more and more place in her work and plans.

Biography courtesy of Vera Khlebnikova

Other Occupation(s):
Author, Teacher, Writer
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Moscow College of Polygraphy, Moscow, Russia (1977)
Related Visual Artists:
daughter of May Miturich granddaughter of Peter Miturich great-granddaughter of Vera Khlebnikova collaborated with Alexander Reichstein
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Library Fellows Award, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (2005)
Earliest exhibition:
Second All-Russian Exhibition of Book Illustrations, Perm, Russia (1982)
NMWA exhibition(s):
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Book as Art XIV: Temptations
Russian Portrait