Natalia Goncharova was a Russian avant-garde artist, painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer, as well as also a painter and designer for Diaghilev’s ballets. I found her lineage fascinating because she was born into a noble family in which she was connected to Aleksandr Pushkin and Peter the Great. She and Mikhail Larionov (colleague and companion) did a lot together and this included leading the Russian Futurism and Cubo-Futurism art movement. Goncharova’s early work was influenced by French Post-Impressionist artists which eventually helped her to develop Privitism and Rayonnism and these influences include Gauguin, Matisse, and traditional Russian folk art and Byzantine icons.
Unfortunately, Goncharova and Larionov became very poor after Diaghilev’s death in 1929 because most of their income came from commissions that they were doing for Diaghilev’s theatre sets and costume designs for ballets. After Diaghilev’s death, they were often forced to sell the paintings from their personal art collection that they had just to survive. Things got even worse when Goncharova had a very bad stroke in 1950 and later on, arthritis and cancer in 1957. After suffering many years with her poor health and poverty, she eventually died in October 1962 in Paris.
It’s sad to see that Goncharova died this way, but now her work sells for millions of dollars today. Personally, I really like her painting style with all the different colored lines and thicknesses of them because it achieves a really cool jarring effect.