Portrait of Diaghilev
Natalia Goncharova

Natalia Goncharova

1881 - 1962

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer. Goncharova's lifelong partner was fellow Russian avant-garde artist Mikhail Larionov. She was a founding member of both the Jack of Diamonds (1909-1911), Moscow's first radical independent exhibiting group, the more radical Donkey's Tail (1912-1913), and with Larionov invented Rayonism (1912-1914). She was also a member of the German-based art movement Der Blaue Reiter. Born in Russia, she moved to Paris in 1921 and lived there until her death.

Her painting vastly influenced the avant-garde in Russia. Her exhibitions held in Moscow and St Petersburg (1913 and 1914) were the first promoting a "new" artist by an independent gallery. When it came to the pre-revolutionary period in Russia, where decorative painting and icons were a secure profession, her modern approach to rendering icons was both transgressive and problematic. She was one of the leading figures in the avant-garde in Russia and carried this influence with her to Paris.

Text courtesy of Wikipedia, 2024