Nicolas Sidjakov

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Nicolas Sidjakov
was born December 16, 1924, in Riga, Latvia, of Russian parents who had fled Russia during the Revo­lution. He studies in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in the 1940s, and in the 1950s worked as a free­lance designer for the French movie industry, and in adver­tising. In 1954 he came to the United States with his family, where he continued to work in adver­tising. In the 1950s he also began to illus­trate children’s picture books. His first such work was published in 1957, and in 1961 he won the Caldecott Award for Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins. The story, based on an old Russian legend, enabled Sidjakov to draw upon his own heritage and ‘Russian feelings.’ Throughout the 1960s and 70s he continued to illus­trate various authors’ books on a variety of subjects, including folk literature.

Nicolas designed more than he illus­trated and the adver­tising annuals of the period are littered with his design accolades.

3 thoughts on “Nicolas Sidjakov”

  1. j.miho says:

    nicolas was to me more a designer than an illus­trator he was a excep­tionally good designer with modernist traits. he and his friends like tom kamufuji and a group of s.f. designers were spear­heading design in america as nyc was. the 60’s-70’s was the golden age of graphic design from a conceptual basis. rock and roll was bursting out on the streets of s.f. with its habit of indi­vidual designs. others from russia who fled the stal­inist era was alexi brodovitch the amazing magazine designer and teacher of penn-​kane-​and many other photog­ra­phers in nyc. design revo­lution was it coast to coast. it happened because of america was a place to be and express yourself-​nyc beat paris for art as abstract expres­sionist flowered in nyc. print supported design and photog­ra­phers pushed the envelope of pictures and pushed illus­tration aside. nicolas was in the thick of it.

    1. admin says:

      While San Fran­cisco was roaring along creatively, James Miho reshaped design from New York City. I still have samples from his Champion Papers series and will not part with them. For more infor­mation on Miho, a quick search online will introduce you to this iconic designer who’s place in graphic design history is firmly estab­lished and fondly remem­bered.
      Thank you for the comment.

  2. Laurel Burden says:

    I came across “Baboushka” today at the LACMA Cali­fornia Design exhibit and was imme­di­ately taken back to the 60s in Northern Cali­fornia. The book came into my life because I had two very young brothers and children’s book illus­tra­tions had always been a passion. I loved this book and as I started college in Oakland, became aware of the rich design community in the area. Mr. Miho’s remarks were wonderful to read and he, and his work with Champion Papers were an inspi­ration to a young graphic designer.
    Thank you, I’m thrilled to have found this site.

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