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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.