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Natalia Goncharova
Natalia Goncharova (self-portrait, 1907, GTG).jpg
Self-portrait, 1907
Born (1881-06-16)June 16, 1881
Negaevo, Tula Province, Russia
Died October 17, 1962(1962-10-17) (aged 81)
Paris, France
Nationality Russian; then French
Known for Painting, Costume design, writer, illustrator, set design
Cyclist (Goncharova, 1913)
The Cyclist, 1913, with cubist and futurist influences
Natalia Goncharova. St. John in Lithurgy (1915)
Goncharova's design for St John. Part of a commission by Diaghilev for the ballet The Liturgy

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova (16 June 1881 – 17 October 1962) was a Russian painter, designer and writer. As an artist she was avant-garde: her art styles were influenced by fauvism, cubism and futurism. As a designer she was notable for her set and costume creations for ballet and theatre.

Goncharova holds the world record for the price paid for a work of art by a woman. The painting was Goncharova's 1912 still-life The Flowers, and it sold for $U.S. 10.8 million.

Life and work

Natalia Goncharova studied sculpture in Moscow, but worked as a painter and designer. She was inspired both by an interest in Russian folk art, and by modernism in art. With her lifelong partner Mikhail Larionov she first developed a style called Rayonism. They part of the pre-Revolution Russian avant-garde. They helped to organise the so-called 'Donkey's Tail' exhibition of 1912, and showed their work at the Der Blaue Reiter exhibition in Munich the same year.

Goncharova became famous in Russia for her Futurist work such as The Cyclist and her later Rayonist works. They organised lecture evenings and Goncharova wrote and illustrating a book in Futurist style.

In 1913, she began to design ballet costumes and sets for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and elsewhere. She did the stage and costume design for these ballets: Le Coq d'Or' (1914), The Liturgy (1915), Ygrushka (1921) Reynard (with her husband; 1922), Les Noces (1923), Une nuit sur le mont chauve (1924), The Firebird (1926 revival), Sur le Borsythène (with her husband; 1932), Cendrillon (1938), Bogatyri (1938) and the 1954 Sadler's Wells production of Firebird.

Goncharova moved to Paris in 1921, where she regularly exhibited her art. She became a French citizen in 1939. She married Larionov at last in 1955, and died in Paris, in 1962.

The largest collections of her work are in the Pompidou Centre in Paris; the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg; and the State Tretyakov Gallery, in Moscow.

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