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 Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova  (1881 - 1962)



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Lived/Active: Russian Federation/France      Known for: abstract, still-life, flower painting, book illustrations, costume design

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BIOGRAPHY for Natalia Goncharova
1881 (Nagaevo, Russia)
1962 (Paris, France)

Russian Federation/France

Self portrait -
Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Often Known For
abstract, still-life, flower painting, book illustrations, costume design

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Natalia Gontcharova was born in Ladyshino near Tula in central Russia in 1881 and studied at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.  In 1898 she met the artist Michael Larionov who became her life-long companion. She began painting in a neo-primitive style based on icons and Russian folk art. 

By 1910 she had traveled to Paris and along with Larionov had begun to be heavily involved in Russian avant-garde circles.  Together they evolved a neo-primitive style that was favored in the years shortly before the outbreak of the war.   

By 1913, Goncharove, along with Larionov, had turned her attention to a more abstract style, heavily influenced by Italian Futurism and French Cubism; together they evolved a style known as Rayonnism.  In 1914 they traveled to Paris at the invitation of Serge Diaghiliv to collaborate on costumes and designs for the Ballet Russe.  They remained in Paris for the rest of their lives and continued to play a role in the international avant-garde. She exhibited in Moscow, Paris, London and Brussels.  She married Larionov at the end of her life.  She died in Paris in 1962.   

Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Dictionary of Women Artists by Chris Petteys.

Biography from Annex Galleries:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Nagaevo, Russia, Natalia Goncharova (Gontcharova) moved to Moscow to attend school in 1892, where she met Mikhail Larionov, who encouraged her to paint and became her lifelong companion.  The following year, she enrolled at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture to study sculpture.  Goncharova participated in an exhibition of Russian artists organized by Sergei Diaghilev at the 1906 Salon d'Automne in Paris. Her early work shows the influence of Impressionism, Fauvism, and Russian folk sculpture.

Goncharova participated in numerous important exhibitions of new art in Moscow. While she favored Primitivist and Cubist styles, she adopted Cubo-Futurist and Rayonist-for which she credited as a founder of- styles around 1912.  She was represented at the second Blau Reiter exhibition in 1912 and the 'Erste deutsche Herbstsalon at the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin in 1913.  Around this time, she and Larionov began their collaboration with Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes, which lasted until the impresario's death in 1929.

She settled permanently in Paris in 1917, and became a French citizen in 1938.  Although she never abandoned any one form of art, much of her attention was focused on stage decoration, and book illustration with lithography.  She continued to create her work until she was into her 70s. 

She married Laironov in 1955, and died in Paris in 1962.

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