Natalia Goncharova
artist / painter

Natalia Goncharova was born (1881-1962) in Nagaevo, Russia.

In 1892, she moved to Moscow to attend school. In 1900, she met Mikhail Larionov, who encouraged her to paint and became her lifelong companion. The following year, she enrolled at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture to study sculpture. Goncharova participated in an exhibition of Russian artists organized by Sergei Diaghilev at the 1906 Salon d’Automne in Paris. Her early work shows the influence of Impressionism, Fauvism, and Russian folk sculpture.

Goncharova participated in numerous important exhibitions of new art in Moscow, including Jack of Diamonds (1910), The Donkey’s Tail (1912), and The Target (1913). While her early works were painted in Primitivist and Cubist styles, she adopted a Cubo-Futurist and Rayist approach around 1912. Goncharova was represented at the second Blaue Reiter exhibition at Galerie Hans Goltz, Munich, in 1912 and the Erste deutsche Herbstsalon at the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin in 1913. Around this time, Goncharova and Larionov began their collaboration with Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes, which lasted until the impresario’s death in 1929. In 1917, they settled permanently in Paris, and the following year their work appeared in the exhibition L’Art décoratif théâtral moderne at the Galerie Sauvage, Paris.

Goncharova showed extensively during the 1920s and 1930s, often with Larionov, in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Although she never abandoned painting, much of her creative energy was directed toward stage decoration and book illustration. She designed costumes, settings, and drop curtains for international presentations of modern and classical ballets until she was in her 70s. In 1938, Goncharova became a French citizen and in 1955 she married Larionov. The following year she was given a retrospective at the Galerie de l’Institut in Paris. Goncharova died October 17, 1962, in Paris.