Nina Genke-Meller

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Nina Genke or Nina Genke-Meller, or Nina Henke-Meller, (Russian: Нина Генке-Меллер, Нина Генке, 1893–1954) was a Ukrainian-Russian avant-garde artist, (Suprematist), designer, graphic artist and scenographer.


Nina Genke was born in Moscow. Her father Genrikh Genke was Dutch, and her mother Nadezhda Tikhanova was Russian.

In 1912 she graduated from Levandovskaya Private Gymnasium in Kiev. She received a title to teach Russian language and history.

In 1913 she started to teach history, geography and drawing in the Higher Primary College for Women in Skoptsi. It was Skoptsi where her inspiration to art sprang to life. There Nina Genke met an artist Yevgenia Pribylska who was a head of the Art Studio in a Folk Center.

In 1914 she began attending Aleksandra Ekster’s studio in Kiev for her art education.

From 1915 to 1917 she was an assistant in Ekster's studio. At the same time Nina Genke worked as an artist in Skoptsi (Skoptsy) Village Folk Centre with supervisor Yevgeniya Pribilskaya and in the Verbovka Village Folk Centre, founded by N. Davidova.

She was closely connected with the Supremus group that was led by Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism.

After 1915, Nina Genke worked as a head and a chief artist of the Verbovka Village Folk Centre (province in Kiev). She attracted famous avant-garde artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Aleksandra Ekster, Ivan Kliun, Ivan Puni, Lyubov Popova, Olga Rozanova, Ksenia Boguslavskaya and others to the creative peasant artisans Co-operative.

In the period after the October Revolution of 1917, she participated in decorating the streets of Kiev and Odessa for Revolution Festivities together with Aleksandra Ekster and Kliment Red'ko, involved herself in designing grandiose shows, as well as, a book graphic design.

Nina Genke was a chief artist of the Golfstream futuristic publishing house led by Ukrainian poet-Futurist, Mykhail Semenko. In the same time she is working as a graphic artist.

During the period 1920-1924 she taught art in the All-Ukrainian State Center Studio.

In 1924 moved to Moscow, working as a stage designer, designer for china ( mostly plates) and wallpaper manufacture.

Nina Genke also held a position of the Deputy Head of the Board on Fine Arts in Vserabis.

Later Nina Genke worked as an interior designer, a scenographer, a supervisor of decorative and applied arts institutions, etc.

She was married to Vadim Meller.

Nina Genke-Meller died in Kiev.

External links and references[edit]

  • Nina Henke-From Folk Suprematism to Avant-gardism of Shows and Plays, Sergei Papeta, pp. 48–66, Catalog, an Exhibition Avant-Garde Adventures, National Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU), Kiev, Ukraine, 2004.
  • Nina Genke, Avantgarde and Ukraine.,p. 193, Catalogue, an Exhibition of the Villa Stuck' Munich, Germany, 1993.
  • Nina Genke, Ukrainian Avant-garde of 1910-1930s, Zagreb, Croatia, 1991.
  • Ukrainian Avant-garde Art 1910-1930s, ed. Dmytro Horbachov, Mystetstvo, Kiev, Ukraine, 1996.
  • Crossroads. Modernism in Ukraine., Chicago-New York, US, 2006-2007.