Program MEMORY
The illustration in the art of Dechko Uzunov

Although Dechko Uzunov’s rich and diverse artistry has been studied extensively, and featured prominently in no small number of exhibitions and publications throughout the years, not all of his creations are known to the public. Having lived almost nine decades, the artist has betrothed us with a sizeable inheritance, testifying to his eagerness to discover various material and spiritual “universes”. One of them finds its way into this book. Uzunov, like many of his contemporaries, dedicates quite a bit of time to explore the lexical-visual connection. This process begins even prior to his days at the Artistic-Industrial School of Sofia (1919) and endures until his final breath. His work in the direction of creating works for graphic editions rises after the end of his studies in the Academy of Arts of Munich (1922–1923).
His stay abroad gives him the chance to communicate with some leading foreign and Bulgarian artist not only in his area of arts, but also with some related to the world of literature. Having returned in Bulgaria, Uzunov expands his circle and gradually becomes one of the preferred front pages creators, as well as illustrations for books and portraits. The latter were of and for authors like: Svetoslav Minkov, Nikola Furnadjiev,Yordan Stubel, Chavdar Mutafov, Angel Karaliychev, Uncle Stoyan (Stoyan Popov), Yordan Kyuranov, Atanas Dushkov, Slavcho Krasinski, Dimitar Pantaleev, Emilian Stanev, Nikolai Zidarov, Pavel Matev and last but not least, Alain Bosquet.

In this exhibition, brought by Art Gallery “Dechko Uzunov”, an effort was made for the first time since the retrospective exhibition in honor of his 100-year anniversary, to collect and show not only original illustrations, but also such that were left out between the pages of old editions. The showing presents one of the few early illustrations, preserved in the fond of the gallery. It was created in 1922 and shows a rare image from a collection of poems from Nikolay Liliev “Moon stains”. The other works are from the period 1940s–1960s. Among them are different variations of illustrations from some of the most well-known stories of Emilian Stanev, Angel Karaliychev and Nikolay Zidarov.
The portraits, created by Uzunov of over 20 different artists, are included in the exhibition as reproductions from the book “Five years”, the famous collection of poems by Dimcho Debelyonov “Poems”, “An orange tree’s diary”, Eugene O’Neil’s “The first man”, since the originals were not preserved.
The exposition shows the original copies of a few of the books, illustrated by Dechko Uzunov in different periods of his life.
The works in the exhibition are part of the collections of Art Gallery “Dechko Uzunov” and National Museum of Literature. The books for the exposition are given by the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”, the Library of Sofia and the Collection of “Toni Nikolov”.

Front page from “Watch”, 1924

Front page from “An orange tree diary”, 1925

Front page from “Five years”, 1925

Yordan Stratiev

Georgi Raychev

Illustration to poems by Nikolay Liliev, c. 1922

Illustration from “A winter tale”, 1940s

Illustration from “The spiky prickle” by Emilian Stanev, c. 1956

Illustration from “The wheat bread” by Angel Karaliychev, c. 1960