Natalia Goncharova

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For other people named Natalya Goncharova, see Natalya Goncharova (disambiguation).
Natalia Sergeyevna Goncharova
Natalia Sergeyevna Goncharova.jpg
Natalia in 1910
Born (1881-06-04)June 4, 1881
Negaevo, Tula Governorate, Russian Empire
Died October 17, 1962(1962-10-17) (aged 81)
Paris, France
Nationality Russian
Education Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
Known for Painting, Costume design, writer, illustrator, set designer

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova (Russian: Ната́лья Серге́евна Гончаро́ва; IPA: [nɐˈtalʲjə sʲɪrˈɡʲejɪvnə ɡəntɕɐˈrovə]; June 4, 1881 – October 17, 1962) was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer. Her great-aunt was Nataliya Nikolaevna Goncharova, wife of the poet Alexander Pushkin.

Life and work[edit]

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova was born on June 4, 1881 in Tula Governorate, which was the estate of her father, a notable architect and mathematician Sergey Goncharov.[1] In 1891 the family moved to Moscow. In 1901 she entered Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where she met Mikhail Larionov who was a student of the same art school. Soon they formed a lifelong relationship.[2][3]

Larionov and Goncharova were founding members of two important Russian artistic groups Jack of Diamonds (1909–1911) and the more radical Donkey's Tail (1912–1913).[4] The Donkey's Tail was conceived as an intentional break from European art influence and the establishment of an independent Russian school of modern art. However, the influence of Russian Futurism is much in evidence in Goncharova's later paintings. Initially preoccupied with icon painting and the primitivism of ethnic Russian folk-art, Goncharova became famous in Russia for her Futurist work such as The Cyclist and her later Rayonist works. As leaders of the Moscow Futurists, they organised provocative lecture evenings in the same vein as their Italian counterparts. Goncharova was also involved with graphic design—writing and illustrating a book in Futurist style.

She started to exhibit at the Salon d'Automne (Exposition de L'art Russe) since 1906.[5]

Goncharova was a member of the Der Blaue Reiter avant-garde group from its founding in 1911. In 1915, she began to design ballet costumes and sets in Geneva. In 1915 she started work on a series of designs—Six Winged Seraph, Angel', St. Andrew, St. Mark, Nativity, and others—for a ballet commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev to be titled Liturgy. Also involved in the project, for which Igor Stravinsky was invited to compose the score, were Larionov and Léonide Massine, but the ballet never materialized.[6] Goncharova moved to Paris in 1921 where she designed a number of stage sets of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. She also exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1921, and participated regularly at the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon des Indépendants.

Between 1922 and 1926 Goncharova created fashion designs for Marie Cuttoli's shop, Maison Myrbor on the Rue Vincent, Paris. Her richly embroidered and appliquéd dress designs were strongly influenced by Russian folk art, Byzantine mosaic and her work for the Ballets Russes.[7][8]

In 1938 Goncharova became a French citizen.[9] In 1955 she and Larionov were finally married.[9]


Goncharova died on October 17, 1962 in Paris, France.[1]


Goncharova's work can be found in a number of public institutions, including:

Art market[edit]

Portrait of Natalia Goncharova by Mikhail Larionov (1915)

On June 18, 2007, Goncharova's 1909 painting Picking Apples was auctioned at Christie's for $9.8 million, setting a record for any female artist.[13] She is still the most expensive female artist at auction and her work features in Russian art auctions during the bi-annual Russian Art Week in London.

In November 2007, Bluebells, (1909), brought £3.1 million ($6.2 million).[14] The record was updated a year later, when Goncharova's 1912 still-life The Flowers (formerly part of Guillaume Apollinaire's collection) sold for $10.8 million.[15]

The copyright in the Estate of Natalia Goncharova is administered by ADAGP, Paris.


  1. ^ a b "Natalia Goncharova", National Gallery of Australia, Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Наталия Гончарова. Между Востоком и Западом". 
  3. ^ "Михаил Ларионов и Наталия Гончарова". 
  4. ^ a b The Museum of Modern Art (2010). "MoMA Collection: Natalia Goncharova". Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Exposition de l'art russe 1906;
  6. ^ Norton, Leslie. Léonide Massine and the 20th Century Ballet . McFarland, 2004. p. 12. ISBN 0786417528
  7. ^ Lussier, Suzanne (2006). Art deco fashion (Repr. ed.). London: V&A Publications. p. 46. ISBN 9781851773909. Goncharova's primitive interpretation of Russian folk art and Byzantine mosaics was evident not only in her costumes for the Ballets Russes but also in her designs for Myrbor 
  8. ^ "Evening dress by Natalia Goncharova for Myrbor". V&A Museum. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Natalia Goncharova", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Goncharova, Natalia". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Natalya Goncharova". Tate Collection. the Tate. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Natalia Goncharova". The Israel Museum Exhibition Online. The Israel Museum. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Who Was Natalia Goncharova?". The New York Sun. 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  14. ^ Artist Dossier: Natalia Goncharova
  15. ^ Vogel, Carol (2008-06-25). "A Monet Sets a Record: $80.4 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 

External links[edit]