National Museum of Women in the Arts
Natalia Gontcharova
July 04 1881 - October 17 1962
Photograph of Natalia Gontcharova, ca. 1920, unknown photographer. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA. Library and Research Center, Archives on Women Artists
Place of Birth:
French, Russian
Phonetic Spelling:
nah-TAHL-yah gahn-CHUH-roh-vah
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting, Sculpture, Textiles and clothing
Artistic Role(s):
Costume Designer, Designer, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor, Watercolorist, Set Designer
Artist's Biography:
Natalia Gontcharova was born in central Russia. A leading artist of twentieth century Russian avant-garde, Gontcharova was a painter, set designer, printmaker, and illustrator. She drew her inspiration from her native Russian folk heritage as well as Fauvism, Symbolism, Futurism, and Cubism.

Gontcharova entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture as a sculpture student in 1898, but soon after her graduation her interests shifted to painting.

In Moscow, Gontcharova met Mikhail Larionov who became her life-long companion and collaborator. Together, they developed the concept of Neo-primitivism, an art based on native Russian arts and crafts, characterized by the use of bright colors and intense contrasts.

In 1915, Gontcharova and Larionov left Russia to design sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The company traveled throughout Europe, leading the couple to settle permanently in France.

In her later years, Gontcharova’s abstract compositions were increasingly inspired by the Soviet space program.

Other Occupation(s):
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Moscow, Russia (1898-1910)
Related Visual Artists:
wife of and collaborated with Mikhail Larionov friend of Nikolai Ryanbushinsky friend of Alexandra Exter friend of and collaborated with Sergei Diaghilev friend of Roger Fry student of Prince Pavel Trubetskoi student of Konstantin Korovin influenced by Paul Gauguin
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Member, Salon of Independents, Paris, France (1921) Founding Member, Jack of Diamonds, Donkey's Tail, and Target avant-garde groups, Moscow, Russia (1910-1913)
Earliest exhibition:
Exposition de l'Art Russe, Le Salon d'Automne, Paris, France (1906)
Artist retrospective(s):
Nathalie Gontcharova, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France (1969)
Related places
Paris (died at)
The Flamenco Dancer, 1916