Vladimir Lebedev was born in 1891 in Saint Petersburg. He studies at the M. D. Bernshtein School and later at the Academy of Arts (1910-1914), and works for several satirical journals as cartoonist. In 1912 he enters the School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture in Saint Petersburg (1912-1916). Lebedev is considered the pioneer in children’s books illustrations. In 1917 he illustrates The Lion and the Bull. He teaches at the State Free Studios (1918-1921), and promotes the use of lubok prints and Cubism in propaganda posters. He designs over 500 posters for the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA). His own posters are highly influenced by neo-Primitivism, though in his later works he combines the principles of signboard painting with Cubist collage.
The feminine figure (portraits and nudes) is always his favorite subject. He joins the Union of the Artists of Saint Petersburg established in 1932. Lebedev excels in illustrating children’s books and is in charge of the innovative school of illustrated children’s books in Leningrad promoting a new integration of stylized elements and content. Among his famous illustrations are those made for R. Kipling The Elephant’s Child (1921), and Samuil Marshak’s The Circus (1925). He works as art editor at Detgiz Publishing House in Leningrad (1924-1933). Lebedev dies in 1967.