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Natalia Goncharova: Avant-Garde Trailblazer

Natalia Goncharova Peasants Picking Apples 1911 State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia) © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

Natalia Goncharova was only 32 in 1913 when she established herself as the leader of the Russian avant-garde movement with a major Moscow exhibition. She then moved to France where she designed costumes and backdrops for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes. She lived in Paris for the rest of her life, a key figure in the city’s cutting-edge art scene.

The Phoenix (Harvest polyptych) 1911 State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia) ©ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

“Goncharova’s artistic output was immense, wide-ranging and at times controversial,” says The Tate Modern, in London, which has mounted a retrospective, on through Sept. 8, 2019.

The exhibition tells the tale of the rebellious daughter of impoverished Russian aristocrats who, born in 1881 on her family’s rural estate, moved to Moscow and there, enrolling at art school, threw down the gauntlet to ladylike convention and artistic tradition – review in The Times

Cyclist 1913 State Russian Museum (St Petersburg, Russia) ©ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019

She paraded the streets of Moscow displaying futurist body art and created monumental religious paintings. She took part in avant-garde cinema, experimented with book designs and designed for fashion houses in Moscow and Paris. Goncharova showed extensively during the 1920s and 1930s,  in Europe, the United States, and Japan. She designed costumes, settings, and drop curtains for international presentations of modern and classical ballets until she was in her 70s.

Feature on Natalia Goncharova, The Guardian, here.

Tate Modern, here.

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