Liubov Popova

Liubov Popova

Style: Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism

Lived: April 24, 1889 - May 25, 1924 (20th century)

Nationality: Russia

Liubov Sergeyevna Popova was born April 24, 1889 near Moscow. She grew up in an enlightened merchant family with a strong interest in art, especially Italian Renaissance painting. At eleven years old she began art lessons at home and in 1907 she studied art with S. Zhukovskiy. Then in 1908 - 1909 she attended the art school of Konstantin Yuon and Ivan Dudin.

Popova traveled widely to investigate and learn from diverse styles of painting, but it was the ancient Russian Icons and 15th and 16th century Italian painters, Giotto and others which at first interested her the most.

1909 Travels to Kiev.
1910 Then to Pskov and Novgorod.
1911 Other ancient Russian cities including St. Petersburg to study icons.
1912 Works in Moscow studio known as the Tower with Ivan Aksenov, Vladimir Tatlin. Visits Sergei Shchukin's collection of modern French paintings.
1912-13 Studied art in Paris with Nadezhda Udaltsova.
1913 Meets Alexander Archipenko and Ossip Zadkine. Returns to Russia and works with Tatlin, Udaltsova and Vesnin.
1914 Travels in France and Italy at the development of cubism and futurism.

Through a synthesis if disparate tendencies Popova worked towards the culminating painterly arcitectonics. Exploring firstly an impressionist style, by 1913, in Composition with Figures, she is experimenting with the particularly Russian development of Cubo-Futurism; a fusion of two equal influences from France and Italy. In the painting The Violin of 1914 the development from cubism towards the painterly architectonics of 1917-18 is clearly visible. Before joining the Supremus group her paintings , the architectonic series have defined their own artistic trajectory, quite different to that of Malevich, Rozanova, Tatlin and Mondrian in abstract form. The canvas surface is an energy field of overlapping and intersecting angular planes in a constant state of potential release. At the same time the elements are held in a balanced and proportioned whole as if linking the compositions of the classical past to the future. By 1918 colour is used as an iconic focus; the bright colour at the centre drawing the outer shapes together.

From 1921-24 Popova became active in Constructivist projects: Stage designs; Vsevolod Meierkhold's production of Fernand Crommeldynck's The Magnanamous Cuckold, 1922; Teaching: Spacial Force Constructions were used as the basis of an art teaching theory ; Typography of books, production art and textile design.

Popova died in Moscow on May 25, 1924 at age 35 when she contracted scarlet fever. A large exhibition of her work opened in Moscow 21 December 1924.

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