Natalia Goncharova was born in 1881 in Negayevo (near Toula). From 1898 to 1902 she studies sculpture at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture of Moscow, under Troubetzkov. There she meets Mikhail Larionov, her life companion, who encourages her to paint. Her early work is influenced by the French Impressionists, lubok, Byzantine religious art and Russian folk art. In 1906, Goncharova participates in the Russian exhibition organized by Diaghilev in Paris (Salon d’Automne). Her work is influenced by the Impressionists and later by Gauguin and Matisse. In 1912 her works are displayed in The Blue Rider exhibition (Munich).
She also paints in the Rayonist style that is developed by Larionov, tries Cubism and Futurism, before going back to neo-Primitivism and Russian folk art. Goncharova is the first woman artist to have her work displayed at the Art Salon (Moscow, 1913). In 1914 her works are on show in Paris together with those of Larionov. The preface to the exhibition catalog is signed by the famous French poet Guillaume Appolinnaire. In 1915 she and her husband travel with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to Switzerland, where they design sets and costumes for several famous ballets. Goncharova and Larionov settle in Paris in 1919. They continue to work for the Russian Ballets and meet local and Russian artists. Among her numerous costumes and set designs, are those that she made for The Fire Bird by Igor Stravinsky (1926). Goncharova dies in Paris in 1962.
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