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Developing the innovative style of Cubo-Futurism from a synthesis of the splintered refractions found in French Cubism, and the force-lines, repetition, and rich colors of Italian Futurism, the Russian artist, Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova, is celebrated as one of the most distinctly individual artists of the Russian avant-garde, who excelled as a painter, graphic artist, theatrical set designer, textile designer, teacher and art theorist.

Regarded as one of the co-founders of Russian Constructivism,  Popova was born on April 24, 1889, in Ivanovskoe, near Mascow, into a prosper family of Sergei Maximovich Popov, a rich textile merchant. Her family secured her a quality art education. After studying in the studios of Stanislav Zhukovsky and Konstantin Yuon in Moscow from 1907 to 1909, she traveled to Italy, where she was strongly drawn to the monumental art of the early Renaissance.

In 1910, Popova traveled to Pscov and Novgorod to study iconography. In 1912, she met some of the leading masters of the Moscow avant-garde gathered around Vladimir Tatlin, and for some time she worked at his studio, together with Nadezhda Udaltsova and Aleksandr Vesnin. Popova, Ualtsova, and Vasnin developed close creative and personal friendships and love that would last throughout Popova's short lifetime.

During the winter of 1912-13, Popova traveled to Paris with Udaltsova and visited Sergey Shchukin’s renowned collection of French art, and drawn to Cubism. The Académie de la Palette, where Popova and Udaltsova studied Cubism with Henri Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger, was to prove a crucial step in Popova's artistic development.

After another trip to France and Italy in 1914, Popova retuned to Moscow as a full-fledged artist, centering on Art Nouveau. She organized “weekly gatherings on art” at her house, which attracted the forerunners of the Moscow artistic avant-garde, participated in avant-garde exhibitions, such as “Jack of Diamonds”  exhibitions of 1914 and 1916, “0.10” (1915) and “The Store” (1916).

After successful experiments in Cubism, Popova created a series of “plastic paintings”, such as “Jug on Table” (1915), in which there is a synthesis of painting and relief work using plaster and tin. In 1916, she joined the Supremus Group founded by Kazimir Malevich. Inspired by Malevich's idea about abstraction and Suprematism, Popova developed an individual variation of nonobjective art. She classified her work, with its rhythmical synthesis of colored planes, as “Painterly Architectonics”.

Popova's paintings gradually began to evolve into Constructivism. In the early 1920, her compositions bear titles such as “Construction” and “Spatial-Force Construction”. Thus, in 1921, she departed from painting and turned to “practical art”, which was a logical step in her artistic evolution.

 During this period Popova connected teaching and theoretical work and creatively moved toward the applied arts, working with textile designs, posters, and book covers. Her most interesting work was in the field of set design. She created innovative Constructivist sets around which the action developed. She worked with the Kamerny Theatre of Aleksandr Tairov and Vsevolod Meyerhold.

Tragically, Popova died of scarlet fever on May 25,1924, in Moscow, aged 35.


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